Lehigh Valley Health Network, based in Allentown, Pa., and Pocono Health System, based in East Stroudsburg, Pa., recently announced they have signed a letter of intent to merge. The boards of directors of both organizations, in separate meetings, authorized the letter of intent, according to a news release.
Brian Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP, Lehigh Valley Health Network’s president and CEO, said the two organizations have a long history of productive partnerships in certain clinical areas, such as the affiliation to provide trauma and radiation oncology services to the region. He believes having a single, integrated system will accelerate steps to develop and grow additional, affordable healthcare services to better serve the community.
“We look forward to developing with PMC a hospital of the future that incorporates the highest level of clinical competence to provide the highest quality care close to home,” Nester said in the release. In addition, he said, LVHN looks forward to the opportunity to provide more integrated care to the Pocono region through population health management, which includes sharing a common electronic medical records system.
“We believe that the residents of the Poconos region will greatly benefit from the merger of these two longstanding, high-quality healthcare systems,” Jeff Snyder, president and CEO of Pocono Health System, said in the release. “The combination of our two organizations will mean that Poconos residents will have greater access to the highest-quality clinical care in the region, the most qualified and capable physician network supported by the most sophisticated technology and advanced health records systems, all delivered locally through PMC, while being supported by the resources and scale of Lehigh Valley Health Network.”
The parties expect the proposed merger to take effect in the first half of 2016, subject to the completion of due diligence, the negotiation of definitive transaction documents and appropriate regulatory approvals.
Lehigh Valley Health Network includes four hospital facilities — two in Allentown, one in Bethlehem and one in Hazleton, Pa.; 12 health centers caring for communities in five counties; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices throughout the region; and pharmacy, imaging, home health services and lab services. Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital, the only children’s hospital in the region, provides care in 28 specialties and general pediatrics, according to the release.
Pocono Medical Center is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year in East Stroudsburg. With more than 200 physicians and more than 1,850 staff members, it is one of Monroe County’s oldest and largest employers, offering a full complement of clinical and acute care services for Monroe and surrounding communities, according to the release.