Dan ProchiloMay 12, 2015, 3:46 pmMay 12, 2015, 8:30 pm

Hackensack, Meridian strike merger deal to form far-reaching hospital network

Combined entity with about 25K employees still needs nod from state and federal regulators

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FiOS1 News' Courtney Kane Reports

The Hackensack University Health Network announced Tuesday that it had reached an agreement to merge with Meridian Health, potentially forming a healthcare system with 11 hospitals, the biggest in the state.

The deal between the two networks followed a seven-month review of the clinical and financial details of the tie-up, which would establish a combined entity boasting about 25,000 employees and nearly 6,000 staff doctors.

State and federal regulators have yet to give their blessing to the "historic merger," which could take another nine to 12 months, Hackensack University Health Network said in a release.

"Hackensack Meridian Health will truly elevate the level of healthcare provided throughout much of the region by creating the state’s most comprehensive healthcare system,” Robert C. Garrett, president and CEO of Hackensack, said in a statement Tuesday.

Hackensack officials say the fusion of the two organizations would expand access to healthcare services and "develop a vast array" of new services available to a broader geographic area.

The newly formed organization, which would be known as Hackensack Meridian Health, would have a single corporate board with an equal number of trustees from each system and have co-CEOs for two and a half years post-merger, hospital operators said.

The combined entity's facilities will include Neptune's Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack UMC Mountainside in Montclair, and other hospitals, plus a network of physician practices and long-term care facilities.

Email the reporter: dprochilo@fios1news.com

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