Saint Peter's Healthcare System and RWJ Barnabas End Merger Agreement
By Barbara A. Preston | June 14, 2022
RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) and Saint Peter’s Healthcare System’s proposed integration had received the blessing of New Jersey regulators. However, the New Brunswick-based organizations were awaiting a final approval from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) before moving ahead with the deal. Today, the leadership of both organizations mutually made the difficult decision to call it quits.
Unveiled in 2020, the deal between RWJBarnabas and Saint Peter’s would have served the public interest and the public good, according to the organizations. The FTC did not see it that way, and recently filed suit to block the deal that would have enabled "the creation of the first premier academic medical center in New Jersey designed to increase services, provide better access, and reduce the overall cost of such care," according to Saint Peter’s President and CEO Leslie Hirsch.
"State approval (had) put us on the cusp of being able to create New Jersey's first multi-campus premier academic medical center that would have drawn top talent, increased research funding and more opportunities for groundbreaking clinical trials, while also enhancing specialized services and improving overall patient care,” Hirsch said.
Saint Peter’s had issued a Request for Proposal in October 2018 seeking a strategic partner best suited to help the organization maintain its rich Catholic mission and identity in an increasingly changing and competitive healthcare market.
“After careful consideration by leadership, the Saint Peter’s Board of Governors, and the Most Reverend James F. Checchio, Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, and sole corporate member of Saint Peter’s, we have decided to terminate the Definitive Agreement to fully integrate with RWJBarnabas Health. We are very disappointed with this outcome. However, we are grateful for the strong partnership we’ve had with the RWJBarnabas leadership,” said Hirsch said in a prepared statement.
Hirsch added that, “We were truly excited about the potential of this opportunity with RWJBarnabas to create a premier academic medical center of national distinction that would have improved quality and increased access especially to the most vulnerable in the communities we serve. We are now assessing the best way to move forward as we consider potential options to ensure Saint Peter’s longstanding Catholic healthcare mission.”
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"As Middlesex County’s only independent hospital not operated as part of a larger healthcare system, Saint Peter’s remains committed to providing the highest quality care and patient experience to the community through humble service, particularly to the most vulnerable and chronically underserved," Hirsch said.