CAMDEN, NJ—In a move that will transform the healthcare industry’s landscape in New Jersey, Cooper University Healthcare says it will acquire Trinity Health’s New Jersey facilities, which include Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington, and St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton.
When the transaction is completed, the combined entity (Cooper University Health Care, Cooper Lourdes Health Care, and Cooper St. Francis) will become the largest health system in South Jersey, and the fourth largest health system in New Jersey, with revenues of nearly $2 billion, and more than 12,000 employees.
The merger will create one of the state’s largest physicians group with more than 875 employed physicians. The combined health system, with its physician offices and hospitals, will serve more than 2.1 million people in Camden, Mercer, Burlington, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, and Atlantic counties. The system will feature four hospitals with 1,382 beds, and more than 130 ambulatory care offices throughout southern New Jersey.
“This agreement will bring together health care providers from across south and central New Jersey, allowing us to dramatically expand access to the high quality of care for thousands of new patients,” said George E. Norcross III, chairman of Cooper Health. “Since its founding 130 years ago, Cooper has always been committed to providing the best care possible for its community. With this announcement, the size of our community may expand, but the high quality of care will remain the same. Come grow with us.”
The transaction is subject to state and federal regulatory approval. The announcement met with approval from local leaders.
“This announcement is exciting news for Camden and our residents,” says Camden Mayor Dana Redd. “With our two leading healthcare systems joining forces, our residents will have greater access to a broader range of services – from cancer care to heart care – than ever before.”
“Today’s announcement is an important one that unites two health care systems that already care for a significant number of residents throughout the region,” says Anthony J. Perno III, Esq., president & CEO, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership. “The acquisition will enable them to leverage each other’s assets and talents and strengthens the access to care so greatly needed, particularly in our cities. Cooper’s presence in Camden and around the region is one of providing world-class health care; education, training and research. This news only enhances this stellar reputation and provides greater opportunities for all involved – patients, students, researchers and business owners, those here and those committed to coming to the region.”
Nearby healthcare competitor Virtua Health was more reserved. Cooper and Virtua have tangled publicly for years over lists of the best doctors and other healthcare superlatives.
“Hospital mergers and acquisitions are not unusual or new to the healthcare industry,” says Richard P. Miller, president and CEO of Virtua Health, a competitor of Cooper in South Jersey. “We have seen these occurring across the county, including in our own marketplace, such as the recent merger between Kennedy Health and Jefferson Health. The announcement regarding Cooper’s acquisition of Lourdes is the latest in this trend. As South Jersey’s largest healthcare system, Virtua will continue its commitment to providing world class patient care, valued connections with our communities, and focus on its ongoing strategic growth.”
“We are excited about the opportunity to welcome our colleagues from Lourdes and St. Francis to the Cooper team,” said Adrienne Kirby, president and CEO of Cooper University Health Care. “We look forward to joining forces in order to continue our mutual traditions of providing quality health care to residents across the region. This transaction allows us to keep their hospitals open, invest more than a hundred million dollars in improvements to the hospital campuses, and welcome all the Lourdes and St. Francis employees to our team.”
This transaction is the latest in a series of strategic actions that have, over the last two-and-a-half decades, made Cooper South Jersey’s leading academic tertiary care health system and its only Level 1 Trauma Center. In the last five years alone, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University was established and MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper was opened in partnership with the nation’s number one cancer center, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. In each of the last three years, Cooper has experienced nearly double-digit growth. Once this transaction is complete, the combined new health system will be well-positioned to transform the health care market through additional value-based care and population health to benefit patients across South and Central New Jersey.
“To our future colleagues at Lourdes and St. Francis, who share our long tradition of caring for underserved communities and providing innovative, quality health care to patients, we say come grow with us and we look forward to welcoming you to our Cooper family,” says Norcross. “I am excited about our future together and our collective ability to serve residents across South and Central New Jersey, who will have greater access to convenient, quality health care without leaving the state. This agreement is great news for Cooper, for Lourdes and St. Francis, and for the communities we serve.”