Saint Peter’s Healthcare to join Atlantic Health

Organizations sign Definitive Agreement that will strengthen partnership, expand Atlantic Health’s reach in Middlesex County

Saint Peter’s Healthcare System and Atlantic Health System announced Tuesday afternoon that they have signed a Definitive Agreement to expand their strategic partnership.

The organizations said this significant milestone builds upon their shared history of collaboration and aligned mission, vision and values — and it comes from successful collaboration following the signing of a Letter of Intent in January.

Both organizations said they will continue working toward obtaining the necessary federal, state and church approvals before the transaction can be completed.

Les Hirsch, the CEO of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, was thrilled that the system is one step closer to joining Atlantic Health.

“We are enthusiastic about becoming a part of Atlantic Health, with its outstanding reputation for excellence in patient care that aligns well with our culture and mission,” he said. “This ensures that Saint Peter’s will remain a strong presence in the central New Jersey area serving the community as a Catholic hospital for many decades to come.”

Atlantic Health CEO Brian Gragnolati shared his enthusiasm.

“Today is the next step in our commitment to more accessible, affordable health care for the people of New Jersey,” he said. “We are thrilled to partner with Saint Peter’s in delivering high-quality care that builds healthier communities.”

Once the proposed transaction receives the necessary approvals, there will be immediate benefits to patients, physicians and caregivers throughout the communities Saint Peter’s serves. Highlights include strengthened integrated clinical services, a robust physician network and substantial capital investments in Saint Peter’s, including a new electronic medical record system, infrastructure and an expansion of outpatient services.

Under the terms of the Definitive Agreement, Saint Peter’s Healthcare System will join Atlantic Health System, which will become the sole corporate member of Saint Peter’s.

Saint Peter’s will continue to maintain its Catholic mission and identity and adhere to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services under the ecclesiastical sponsorship of the Most Rev. James F. Checchio, Bishop of Metuchen.

One of the first steps the two organizations will take together upon completion of the approved transaction will be implementing the Epic electronic health record platform across Saint Peter’s Healthcare System. Epic will improve efficiency and safety in care delivery by providing physicians with a patient’s full and up-to-date medical record.

Once implementation is complete, Epic will allow physicians and patients the opportunity to share information throughout the Atlantic Health System network. No matter where a patient receives care, their medical information will seamlessly travel with them, easily accessible through the MyChart patient portal.

Saint Peter’s patients will immediately benefit from Atlantic Health System’s years of investment in data analytics capabilities. Based on the clinical experiences from Atlantic Health System’s interactions with more than 1 million unique individuals annually, these data tools allow caregivers to make more efficient, informed decisions that result in improved outcomes and reduced cost, as evidenced by the success of Atlantic Health’s accountable care organizations.

Focused on the future success of both organizations, the terms of the Definitive Agreement allow the two organizations to pursue a wide variety of opportunities, including outpatient services and other population health strategies, which will make care more accessible, affordable, and convenient for residents in the communities served by Saint Peter’s.

With this newly expanded partnership come new opportunities for physicians in Saint Peter’s network. Atlantic Health System will provide Saint Peter’s physicians with the opportunity to participate in Atlantic Health’s affiliated physician group practices and programs, including various quality initiatives, which are already delivering better health care results for patients and proven financial savings.

The Definitive Agreement is the culmination of months of work between the two organizations and is aligned with a patientcentric perspective focused on high-quality, cost-effective services to their communities, consistent with their respective missions. Saint Peter’s University Hospital and Morristown Medical Center (part of Atlantic Health System) have both earned Magnet hospital designation six consecutive times from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The ANCC’s Magnet Recognition Program honors health care organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice. Only 2 percent of the 599 Magnet-designated hospitals throughout the U.S. have been accredited six times.

Additionally, Saint Peter’s and Atlantic Health both have a commitment to creating healthier communities by removing barriers to access and addressing social determinants of health. This new venture would also expand upon the systems’ existing relationship in the Healthcare Transformation Consortium, designed to provide broader and more affordable health insurance to employees across New Jersey. Both systems also take great pride in their exceptional workplace cultures that value the contributions of every team member while promoting award-winning innovation and compassionate care.