Taken from NJBiz.com
January 31, 2024
The action puts Atlantic Health and Saint Peter’s on a path toward reaching a Definitive Agreement in the coming months to fully integrate the two organizations.
Atlantic Health, one of the area’s leading systems, serves more than half of the Garden State through seven hospitals and its network of multispecialty practices, other facilities, partnerships and services. While Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen, is made up of Saint Peter’s University Hospital; the Saint Peter’s Foundation; and a network of primary and specialty care physician practices as well as other outpatient facilities and partnerships.
“For the past several years, Saint Peter’s has engaged in a Discernment Process, with the support of The Most Reverend James Checchio, Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, and Saint Peter’s Board of Governor, to determine the best course for our long-term future,” said Leslie Hirsch, president and CEO of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System. “The most critical objective has been to find a path to secure our Catholic mission of serving the community, especially the most vulnerable, as we have done for more than 116 years.”
Hirsch noted that the hospital industry has changed dramatically over the past decade.
“And we remain the only single-hospital health system in Middlesex County and one of the few remaining in New Jersey,” Hirsch continued. “Although Saint Peter’s is stronger today than ever, throughout this journey it has become clear that to assure our future success, we need a strategic partner whose resources, capabilities, and values are aligned with our mission.”
Enter Atlantic Health.
The two organizations say they have been in discussions for some time. The pair say their respective missions are are aligned around a patient-centric perspective focused on high-quality, cost-effective services to their communities, as well as a great pride in workplace culture.
Under the terms of the LOI, Atlantic Health would make significant investments in Saint Peter’s and its service area to help the provider continue its evolution as a health care system serving Central Jersey. Additionally, the two systems would collaborate to create synergies, such as transitioning Saint Peter’s onto Atlantic’s electronic medical record system.
Saint Peter’s would continue its Catholic mission.
The two systems also note the new venture would expand their existing relationship in the Healthcare Transformation Consortium. That group is aimed at providing broader, more affordable health insurance to employees in New Jersey.
“We are very excited about the prospect of becoming a part of Atlantic Health as it has an excellent reputation for being a high-quality health care provider and our respective cultures are very well aligned,” said Hirsch.
“Today is the first step on an exciting path towards a joining of talents between Saint Peter’s and Atlantic Health System that will benefit the health and well-being of the people of New Jersey,” said Brian Gragnolati, president and CEO, Atlantic Health System. “We are thrilled to partner with Saint Peter’s to ensure that high quality, affordable and accessible care remains available to all who need it.”
As they work toward a definitive agreement, the organizations say they will now engage in a due diligence process. They noted that the completion of any transaction is contingent on approvals from state and federal officials as well as from the Church.
In recent years, Atlantic Health entered a strategic partnership with CentraState.
In 2022, Saint Peter’s canned plans to merge with RWJBarnabas Health, after the Federal Trade Commission moved to block the deal.