Definitive agreement outlines Atlantic Health, Saint Peter’s partnership - Health Professionals & Allied Employees

Definitive agreement outlines Atlantic Health, Saint Peter’s partnership

Taken from

By Jessica Perry

June 25, 2024

Following the January news they would seek to establish a strategic partnership, Atlantic Health System and Saint Peter’s Healthcare System advanced those efforts June 25.

The Morristown- and New Brunswick-based health care systems announced signing a definitive agreement. At the center is a shared focus on patient-centric, high-quality care and cost-effective services.

Under the terms, Saint Peter’s will join Atlantic Health; the latter will become the sole corporate member of the Catholic hospital. No financial terms were disclosed.

Saint Peter’s will maintain its Catholic mission and identity, the partners said. It will still adhere to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services under the ecclesiastical sponsorship of Bishop of Metuchen, the Most Rev. James Checcio.

Highlights of the partnership for the Saint Peter’s community include:

  • Strengthened integrated clinical services
  • A robust physician network
  • Substantial capital investments in a new electronic medical record infrastructure
  • Expanded of outpatient services

In a statement, Saint Peter’s President and CEO Leslie Hirsch highlighted the agreement as an important milestone.

“We are enthusiastic about becoming a part of Atlantic Health and its outstanding reputation for excellence in patient care that aligns well with our culture and mission,” Hirsch commented. “This ensures that Saint Peter’s will remain a strong presence in the central New Jersey area serving the community as a Catholic hospital for many decades to come.”

“Today is the next step in our commitment to more accessible, affordable health care for the people of New Jersey,” stated Brian Gragnolati, president and CEO, Atlantic Health System. “We are thrilled to partner with Saint Peter’s in delivering high-quality care that builds healthier communities.”

To complete the transaction, Atlantic Health and Saint Peter’s said they will continue obtaining necessary federal, state and Church approvals.

First up

Following closing, the partners say implementing the Epic electronic health record platform across Saint Peter’s will take precedence. This move will help improve efficiency and safety. It will also allow information sharing between the New Brunswick provider and the entire Atlantic Health network.

The partners also highlighted the wide data set Saint Peter’s will gain access to.

After years of investment in data analytics capabilities, Atlantic Health uses its more than 1 million annual, unique clinical experiences to help deliver care. According to the partners, the tools help caregivers make more efficient, informed decisions resulting in improved outcomes and reduced costs.

Speaking with NJBIZ in May, Hirsch detailed the benefits economies of scale can bring.

“When you become part of a larger system, not only does it help you in terms of your strength, in terms of functioning in a competitive market, but it also enriches the organization,” Hirsch said. “Because of all of the available resources that are there that you would not otherwise have on your own.”

New opportunity

Additionally, the partners say the terms of the agreement allow for the pursuit of a variety of opportunities, such as outpatient services and other population health strategies. And Saint Peter’s physicians will gain new opportunities. Atlantic Health will provide these doctors with participation in its affiliated physician group practices and programs, including various quality initiatives.

Both are part of the Healthcare Transformation Consortium and the partners said the new venture would expand their existing relationship in that space. The group works to provide more – and more affordable – health insurance to employees in New Jersey.

Atlantic Health and Saint Peter’s highlighted their shared values and missions in the June 25 update. Both are committed to creating healthier communities by removing barriers to access as well as addressing social determinants of health.

They’re also committed to their teams and workplace cultures.

All of that is borne out by the providers’ recognition on countless “best of” lists, including by NJBIZ. Each is also a consecutive six-time recipient of the prestigious Magnet designation from the American Nurse Credentialing Center. That’s something only 2% of the nation’s nearly 600 Magnet-designated hospitals can say.

In 2022, Saint Peter’s called off plans to merge with RWJBarnabas Health, after the Federal Trade Commission moved to block the deal.

Read more here.