(East Stroudsburg) – Pocono Health System (PHS) and Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) today announced they have signed an agreement for a full-asset merger, pending regulatory approvals.
The PHS Board of Directors and LVHN Board of Trustees authorized the agreement separate meetings this month.
The two organizations announced in May 2015 they had signed a letter of intent to merge subject to due diligence, the negotiation of definitive transaction documents, and approval from regulators. Pending completion of regulatory approvals, the parties expect the proposed merger to take effect in the first half of 2016.
“This agreement takes us one step closer to realizing this merger,” said President and CEO of Pocono Health System Jeff Snyder, FACHE, FHFMA,. “It will bring continued growth and expansion in health care services for Poconos residents, providing them greater access to the highest-quality clinical care, the most sophisticated technology and advanced health records systems, and the largest and most experienced physician network in the area.”
Pocono Health Systems announced in 2014 that it would develop Pocono Medical Center West in Pocono Township. According to the terms in the agreement, LVHN and PHS anticipate developing that facility as a “hospital of the future,” incorporating the highest level of clinical competence. The merged entity will also create ambulatory health centers, develop and grow essential clinical services, recruit primary care physicians and increase access to specialists. In addition, LVHN is committed to providing more integrated care to the Pocono region through population health management, which includes sharing a common electronic medical records system.
LVHN’s president and CEO Brian Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP, said, “Pocono Health System is a highly-valued community hospital that cares deeply for the Pocono region. We at Lehigh Valley Health Network, commend the leadership of Pocono Health System for their exceptional oversight of this vital community asset. We applaud their accomplishments and look forward to making a great system of care even better for our communities.”
The decision to merge builds upon a historical affiliation between the two organizations. Past partnerships between the two enabled the creation of a Trauma Center, provision of professional services in Radiation Oncology and Interventional Radiology, and collaboration to provide services for the Monroe County Community Safety Program.
Pocono Medical Center (PMC) became an accredited Trauma Center in November 2008 with Lehigh Valley Health Network serving as the Level I Trauma partner. An agreement with LVHN to provide Interventional Radiology services commenced shortly thereafter. Most recently, an agreement was reached to have LVHN provide the professional services in Radiation Oncology at the Dale and Frances Hughes Cancer Center beginning in March 2015. Also in 2015, Pocono Medical Center and the Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital announced a partnership with the Monroe County Community Safety Program to educate and provide services in matters that include child car seat safety, distracted driving and accident prevention.