- Atlantic Health System and Saint Peter’s Healthcare System signed a letter of intent to form a strategic partnership, with the goal of eventually merging the New Jersey-based providers, they announced on Wednesday.
- Atlantic will make “significant investments” in Saint Peter’s and its service area, planning to reach a definitive agreement to fully integrate in the coming months, the health systems said in a press release.
- Saint Peter’s has been looking for a partner for several years, but a proposed deal with another local health system, RWJBarnabas Health, fell apart in 2022 following regulatory scrutiny.
Atlantic runs more than 550 sites of care, including seven hospitals in the state, according to the system. Catholic provider Saint Peter’s operates just one, the 478-bed Saint Peter’s University Hospital.
The provider is the only single-hospital system in Middlesex County, and one of a few in New Jersey, said Leslie Hirsch, Saint Peter’s president and CEO.
“Although Saint Peter’s is stronger today than ever, throughout this journey it has become clear that to assure our future success, we need a strategic partner whose resources, capabilities and values are aligned with our mission,” he said in a statement.
Saint Peter’s operating income dipped in 2022 to $49.8 million, compared with $71 million in 2021. Atlantic posted operating income of $97.6 million for the first nine months of 2023, rising from the $88.5 million posted in the prior-year period.
A deal would need clearance from both federal and state regulators as well as the Catholic Church before it could be completed.
The move comes about a year and half after Saint Peter’s proposed combination with RWJBarnabas, which was first announced in 2020, collapsed following pushback from the Federal Trade Commission.