Abington Health and Jefferson: Reimagining Region's Health Care
The chief executives of Abington Health and Jefferson announced today that their respective Boards of Trustees have voted to enter into a Letter of Intent and to move forward with a framework for merging the two organizations.
"The merger of Abington and Jefferson is a bold step forward for patient care, wellness and educating future healthcare providers," said Laurence Merlis, president and CEO of Abington Health. "It's about two extraordinary organizations coming together as equals to do what is best for patients. It means doing so in a way that leverages the excellence of our two well established healthcare organizations, in the city and the suburbs," he said. Merlis added that as health care moves toward an environment based on value, this opportunity positions the two to deliver the right care, at the right time in the right location.
"We simply believe that the region deserves a reimagined healthcare system, where patients get the best care closest to where they live," said Stephen Klasko, M.D., MBA, president & CEO, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health System. "By moving forward with this plan, we are aligning two high-performing, leading organizations with track records of consistent, value-based delivery of high quality care. Each organization delivers clinically excellent care, trains and educates medical and health care professionals and takes part in vital research. We are two like-minded organizations that share the same philosophy, culture and commitment to patients, physicians, faculty, employees, students and the community," he said.
Central to the plan is the development of a shared governance model that will serve as the foundation for innovation within this new health care organization. Klasko and Merlis said Jefferson and Abington will have equal representation on a combined board, along with a few independent trustees. "This will bring together some of the finest trustees in the region with a singular focus: doing what is best for patients and the community and doing so in a way that is cost effective," Klasko added.
In late September, Jefferson and Abington announced that the two organizations would enter a 30-day exclusive period of exploration. Since that time, physician leaders, board members and the executive teams from both Jefferson and Abington have been meeting, and it has been from these discussions and with the input of these constituencies that the plan emerged to move forward with a combined organization. "The Letter of Intent will serve as a detailed map for both organizations to move one step closer to a Definitive Agreement in 120 days and a closing later in 2015. We are very excited about the progress we've made thus far," said Merlis.
"It is the right time to redefine the delivery of exceptional care. The shared governance structure is a first in Philadelphia, and we expect, a model for discussion nationally as we all move forward in a landscape defined by healthcare reform and the changing needs and demands of health care purchasers," said Klasko. "Leaders embrace this change and do so with an unwavering commitment to superior patient care, safety and outcomes and to educating the next generation of care providers. That’s what our shared vision is about," he added.
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Jefferson University Hospitals