BY KATHY CHANG
EDISON — After five months of negotiations, the JFK Health network, which includes JFK Medical Center in Edison, is the latest to merge with Hackensack Meridian Health.
On May 2, the Board of Trustees of JFK Health and Hackensack Meridian Health announced that the two not-for-profit health networks signed a definitive agreement to merge.
The agreement follows more than five months of due diligence where a thorough review of clinical, regulatory, service and financial issues occurred.
“In a rapidly changing health care environment that stresses the efficient delivery of care, this merger strengthens and aligns our two organizations to maximize our population health initiatives and increase access for everyone,” said Raymond Fredericks, president and chief executive officer of JFK Health. “Hackensack Meridian Health’s culture of caring is one that matches our values and principles sustained during JFK’s 50-year history.”
JFK Medical Center opened in 1967 in response to the increasing demand for health care services created by a rapid population growth occurring in Edison, Woodbridge, Metuchen and surrounding communities.
The late Edison Mayor Anthony M. Yelencsics, for whom the original community hospital was named, led a grassroots effort to open a hospital to meet the demand.
Steven Weiss, chief marketing officer for JFK Health, said the agreement will be sent to the state Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission.
“They review the documents,” he said. “Given the timeframes, the closing is not expected before year’s end.”
“Our merger with Hackensack Meridian Health emphasizes our desire to continue to deliver high quality and safe clinical services and further supports our numerous health initiatives,” said Michael Kleiman, chairman of JFK Health’s Board of Trustees.
John K. Lloyd, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, said JFK Health and Hackensack Meridian Health share a common mission and commitment to quality.
“From our partnerships in rehabilitation and home care, we have a long history together and are both dedicated to providing the very best patient experience,” he said. “As a new and growing organization, we have an incredible opportunity to transform health care and provide residents with greater access to care.”
Robert C. Garrett, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, said choosing the right partner that provides the highest-quality care and value to the communities they serve is essential.
“We are thrilled JFK wants to be part of Hackensack Meridian Health,” he said. “We believe JFK Health will be a great addition to our network. We will continue to improve the well-being of communities with more cost effective care that delivers quality, safe outcomes, clinical excellence and a superior experience.”
Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 13 hospitals, including two academic medical centers, two children’s hospitals and nine community hospitals, physician practices, more than 120 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care and after-hours centers.
With the addition of JFK Health, Hackensack Meridian Health welcomes JFK’s Neuroscience Institute and Johnson Rehabilitation Institute, a 92-bed inpatient and outpatient hospital offering fully integrated and personalized rehabilitation that facilitates recovery.
The combined entity will employ more than 33,000 team members and over 7,000 physicians on staff.
The network consists of Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, and JFK Medical Center in Edison.