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Jefferson, LVHN sign agreement to merge

Jefferson and Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) today have signed a definitive agreement to combine, creating a leading integrated care delivery system, including a national research university and an expanded not-for-profit health plan.

The unified system, which would be in the top 15 nonprofit health systems in the U.S., will increase access to high-quality and affordable care, clinical research and health plan offerings and address health inequities for urban and rural communities in Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey.

The deal is expected to be completed later this summer, pending final reviews and execution of closing conditions.

Jefferson and LVHN announced in December that they had signed a letter of intent to combine.

Under the terms of the agreement, the systems will integrate clinical care, operations and identity to create a regional system that delivers the highest quality care to those it serves.

“We are delighted to take this next step toward combining with Lehigh Valley Health Network – it is the future, not only for our organizations but also for care in our region,” said Joseph G. Cacchione, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Jefferson.

“Through our integrated operating model, the combined organization will provide the communities we serve access to the highest quality care, the benefits of continuous research and innovation, a network of specialists, clinical trials and so much more, while also building an organization that prioritizes health through value-based care. This combination represents access, choice, innovation, opportunity, increased equity and stability – for patients, physicians, faculty, staff, students and health plan members and our communities at large.”

“We could not be more excited about what lies ahead for communities across Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey,” said Brian A. Nester, DO, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lehigh Valley Health Network.

“As our collective teams worked these past months, we confirmed what we had believed to be true when we signed our initial letter of intent – Jefferson is the ideal partner for Lehigh Valley Health Network, our teams and our patients. We look forward to continuing the important work of improving the health and well-being of our communities together.”

Jefferson and LVHN have long shared a commitment to community and improving lives. Both organizations have embraced models of care that prioritize the health and well-being of patients, investing in the growing field of population health management and quality-focused care services, which when combined will only accelerate. Upon closing, the integrated system will operate 30 hospitals and more than 700 sites of care, supported by more than 65,000 employed faculty, clinicians and staff. The combined organization will offer new educational opportunities for current clinicians and enable exceptional recruiting opportunities. It will expand health plan access that will help vulnerable, at-risk populations receive care to live well and stay out of the hospital. Lastly, the combination will strengthen financial stability, allowing for investments in innovative technologies and better patient outcomes.

Upon the closing of the transaction, Jefferson’s Cacchione will continue to serve as Chief Executive Officer of the Jefferson enterprise. LVHN’s Nester will serve as Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer of the Jefferson enterprise and president of the legacy Lehigh Valley Health Network, reporting directly to Dr. Cacchione. Dr. Baligh R. Yehia will serve as Executive Vice President/Chief Transformation Officer of the Jefferson enterprise and president of the legacy Jefferson Health, while continuing to report directly to Dr. Cacchione. The newly integrated Board of Trustees and leadership team will be comprised of members from both systems.

Both Jefferson and LVHN will continue to operate as independent entities until the combination closes. The parties are committed to ensuring the patients and communities they serve continue to have access to exceptional care from their clinicians during completion of this process.