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Jefferson continues merger blitz, will partner with Kennedy Health in New Jersey

The news comes a few days after Jefferson formalized its plan to acquire Aria Health, a Pennsylvania system with three acute care hospitals.

Henry Powderly, Editor-in-Chief

Jefferson Health will merge with Kennedy Health, the healthcare systems announced on Friday, in a move that will add three New Jersey hospitals to the growing Philadelphia-based provider.

The news comes a few days after Jefferson formalized its plan to acquire Aria Health, a Pennsylvania system with three acute care hospitals.

The merger with Kennedy is still in its infancy, officials said. The two boards last week signed a letter of intent to merge after two years of discussions. An official agreement is expected in the coming months.

[Also: Jefferson, Aria Health make spring merger plans official]

"Kennedy and Jefferson share a common vision of what we can accomplish together," said Kennedy Health President and CEO Joseph W. Devine in the announcement. "Having worked successfully with Jefferson on various initiatives since 2011, this proposed partnership will enhance our ability to develop innovative patient care services for our communities."

Jefferson said this deal will expand upon its "hub and hub," a similar strategy to the Aria deal. In that model, the acquired health systems act like central hubs for their respective geographies while participating in a shared-governance model with parent system Jefferson. Kennedy will focus on southern New Jersey.

In that model, patients at Kennedy would have access to Jefferson doctors and services as well.

[Also: Jefferson Health forms as merger closes, sets aggressive 'innovation' plans]

Kennedy said it has explored merger options for two years before settling on Jefferson due to the system's cultural similarities and Jefferson's focus on transforming healthcare. Jefferson has already made innovations such as telemedicine and a focus on ambulatory clinics, a major strategy as consumerism changes how patients expect to access care.

"Integrating with Kennedy Health is another bold step forward for reimagining healthcare for patients and their families in our communities," Jefferson CEO Stephen Klasko said in the announcement. "Kennedy brings critical capabilities as a high-quality, cost-efficient community health system."

Twitter: @HenryPowderly

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