Major NJ Hospital and Healthcare Systems Announce Merge

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Major NJ Hospital and Healthcare Systems Announce Merging

Babatunde Ojo

In light of recent events that cause rifts between people (e.g., the presidential race), it is pleasing to see some form of unification among those who wish to better the lives of the average citizen. When it comes to a loved one’s health, would you not put your best foot forward to ensure that they would receive the best available aide?

As of January the merger between Meridian Health and Raritan Bay Medical Center has been approved, with Meridian taking point. The originally shore-based Meridian Health would extend its reach into Middlesex County, obtaining 1.5 million patients while taking the helm in operating Raritan Bay’s hospitals.

Hospital mergers are not new to Jersey by any means, however they have not been anywhere near this scale. Despite this successful merger between Meridian and Raritan Bay, there is already talk of another merger with Hackensack University Health, and if that succeeds the combined system would have 26.3 percent of net patient revenue and 23.8 percent of admissions in the state’s six central counties. Based on data from 2013, the system would also have an added 14.9 percent of patient revenue and 16 percent of admissions.

As mentioned earlier, mergers are commonplace within Jersey. It could be said that recent financial pressures in healthcare could be a major factor in driving mergers.

Not surprisingly, there is another wide scale merger on the horizons that could prove to be even more grandiose. The CEOs of Barnabas Health and Robert Wood Johnson University Health have announced a plan to merge the two medical entities. Once successful, the combined revenues would exceed $5 billion from roughly 16 hospitals, and various other health/fitness centers. This would make them the largest hospital chain in the state.

The question that begs to be asked is “What do the mergers mean regarding costs”? If companies come together, should this not mean better institutions and resources? The answer to that is yes. By drawing together each individual resource, the consumer has an array of benefits than it could have had with a singular organization.

However, research shows that mergers typically drive up health care costs. There are also questions of lay-offs due to the abundance of workers that comes with mergers.

There are more positives and possible negatives that come with these mergers, but it would be too swift to generate a left or right response at the moment. Not without any more information and statistics as to what this means for the everyday citizen.

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