Jefferson, Kennedy Health to Merge

The deal would add three hospitals, $540 million in revenue to the growing medical and nursing college.

Jefferson has announced yet another merger deal.

On Friday, Jefferson announced the signing of a letter of intent to merge with Kennedy Health, a South Jersey-based health system. Kennedy has three hospitals located in Stratford, Cherry Hill and Washington Township. The organization has 607 acute care beds, $540 million in revenue and more than 900 physicians.

It’s all part of Jefferson’s mission to expand outward and bring care to the patients, rather than bolstering its Center City facilities. Jefferson doesn’t have a huge presence in South Jersey, but does have an outpatient center in Vorhees. It also has a partnership with Inspria Health Network, which aims to expand on Inspira’s cancer services, neurosciences and gastroenterology care by adding Jefferson physicians and expertise.

It’s just the latest in a series of merger deals for Jefferson. On Tuesday, Jefferson signed a definitive merger agreement with Aria Health adding three hospitals: Aria Health Frankford, Aria Health Torresdale, and Aria Health Bucks County to its growing roster. When the deal is completed in spring 2016, the combined organization will have 22,983 employees, 4,999 physicians and practitioners and 2,231 inpatient beds — soon to be more after the Kennedy deal.

Perhaps the most surprising Jefferson merger came in December, when it signed a letter of intent with Philadelphia University. A medical and nursing school in Center City merging with a design, engineering and fashion school in East Falls? Why not?

Stephen Spinelli, president of Philadelphia University and Dr. Stephen Klasko, president of Thomas Jefferson University, called the move “a revolution in higher education.” Overnight, it became Philadelphia’s fifth-largest college, with 7,500 students and 78,000 alumni.

In May, Jefferson announced a deal with Abington Health, which was likely the largest health care merger the Philly area has ever seen. At the time, the combined company had $106.3 million in public/private research funding, 3,908 students, nine outpatient centers and four urgent care centers.

At a December press conference announcing the Philly U. move, Klasko told me to expect more mergers in the future.

“We have an academic pillar, a clinical pillar, an innovation pillar and a philanthropy pillar,” he said. “My guess is we’ll do mergers in all four pillars. Most of the merger activity has been in the clinical pillar and there will be more. [The Philadelphia University deal] is one of the first ones in the academic field, and we’re looking at some really exciting mergers in the innovation pillar.”

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