And then there were four.
Joseph Trunfio, Atlantic Health's CEO, and Deborah Zastocki, president and CEO of Chilton Hospital made the announcement via conference call Wednesday morning.
“The health care landscape in New Jersey and throughout our nation is changing, and we are changing with it,” Trunfio said in a prepared statement. “Atlantic Health System and Chilton have assessed how our hospitals might partner to best serve current and future patients and enhance the health status of the communities we serve. We have concluded a merger is the best option for us to deliver the highest quality care to our patients and region.”
“Chilton and Atlantic Health System have a long history of working successfully together,” Zastocki said, specifically citing several collaborative efforts including Chilton's contracting through Morristown Medical Center for neonatology and perinatology. “By joining Atlantic Health System, we can assure the local community that we are proactively taking the steps necessary to remain a vital health care resource for years to come.”
Chilton, currently amidst a $24 million renovation project, seeks to benefit from the merger through cost saving measures, including cost of drugs, information technology and the participation in clinical trials.
Healthcare reform underway in the United States was cited as a primary reason for healthcare companies to expand.
"It will be more important role for population management to have the ability to work with physicians to keep the population healthy and out of our hospitals," Trunfio said. "As you begin to look at population base, the number of hospitals it will take to develop programs to treat, it makes sense to look at a larger market.
"It's a natural fit," he added. "We share common visions and values."
Through the merger, 1,400 employees at Chilton will join the 11,340 currently employed by Atlantic Health in Morris, Sussex and Union counties. The whole deal is expected to be complete by mid-2013.