- Aria Health and Jefferson Health have signed a definitive agreement to merge after its approval by both boards. The transaction is expected to be completed in the spring.
- The merger is the second for Jefferson, which merged with Abington Health last May, and is still pending regulatory approval.
- The agreement will designate Aria as a regional referral site as well as "an epicenter for new program development," according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. Also under the agreement terms, Aria will designate an equal number of members to Thomas Jefferson University's board, so all three entities (Aria, Abington, and Jefferson) have equal representation.
Aria operates three hospitals in the Philadelphia area. Jefferson Health operates Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and two other hospitals in Philadelphia as well as Abington Health's Abington Memorial Hospital and Lansdale Hospital. Jefferson Health also operates a network of outpatient care centers and physician practices.
Kathleen Kinslow, Aria Health's president and CEO, will be the president of Community Hospitals, Jefferson Health, once the merger is complete. "Our goal is to transform healthcare across the region for the benefit of patients, delivering the right care at the right time in the right place," she said.
Hospital mergers most likely will continue as pressure to deliver better care at lower costs remains the mantra under the ACA. It remains to be seen whether the Department of Justice approves the two pending health insurance megamergers - Aetna-Humana and Anthem-Cigna. If they get the green light, it could be a go-ahead for a rush of more hospital mergers, according to a report by the Health Research Institute.