Source: Asbury Park Press
The merger of Meridian Health, the parent company of Jersey Shore University Medical Center, and Raritan Bay Health Services Corp., its neighbor in Middlesex County, is moving forward.
After nearly seven months of review, the boards of trustees for the two not-for-profit health systems have signed off on the deal, which still requires approval from state regulators, a step expected later this year.
It will add Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge and Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, which together serve Middlesex County and part of northern Monmouth County to Meridian’s hospitals: Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune; Ocean Medical Center, Brick; Riverview Medical Center, Red Bank; Southern Ocean Medical Center, Stafford; Bayshore Community Hospital, Holmdel; and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, Neptune.
The combination also will have a network of physician practices, ambulatory surgery centers, home care, long-term care and assisted living facilities, ambulance services, fitness and wellness centers and outpatient centers.
It’s too early to say whether the merger will lead to layoffs, officials said Tuesday. “Once we get closer to having the merger finalized, we’ll take a closer look at that but I don’t expect there will be anything that significant in the way of reductions,” said John K. Lloyd, president of Meridian Health.
The communities that Raritan Bay serves, including Perth Amboy, Woodbridge, Sayreville, South Amboy, South River and Old Bridge will notice the difference.
“That is is going to be an immense, immense change for us and for the people,” D’Agnes said. “The population of Middlesex County at this point can’t even appreciate what is going to be brought to that environment by having a true hospital system that is part of the Meridian Health system with all the services.”
Meridian takes on a Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, an urban hospital with a mix of patients where reimbursement rates are “challenging,” D’Agnes said. “What a boon to the residents of that area who could have faced potentially the loss of their hospital, which would have been devastating, and now they are going to see the growth of their hospital. It’s 180-degrees difference.”
“We’ve been excited about this opportunity with Raritan Bay Medical Center from the beginning,” Lloyd said. “Both of our organizations share a commitment to quality and together, we will take progressive steps to join our services and our neighboring geographies to offer expanded choices for care to our residents.”
Meridian’s Lloyd said the company will upgrade the Old Bridge hospital’s old emergency room and put its Perth Amboy hospital on a plan for capital investment and improvements. And Raritan Bay will follow the industry’s lead by adding smaller ambulatory health care facilities in neighboring towns.