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New Jersey hospital to join Penn Medicine

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Penn Medicine, which has Lancaster General Health under its umbrella, announced this week it is one step closer to another merger.

The Philadelphia-based health system is pursuing a merger with New Jersey-based Princeton HealthCare System, pending approval from state and federal regulators.

Princeton, based about 40 miles northeast of Philadelphia, is a 429-bed health system that provides inpatient, outpatient, behavioral health and home care to New Jersey residents. It decided to join Penn Medicine after looking at about 17 potential partners, a news release said.

Penn Medicine, short for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, has 2,500 beds and 31,000 employees, including LG Health in Lancaster County.

The proposed merger between Penn Medicine and Princeton, which was first discussed by the health systems in July, should have no impact on LG Health if approved.

Health system mergers are trending, with hospitals claiming that joining together is the best way to improve care and lower costs in a changing health care industry.

Yet state and federal regulators recently blocked a merger between two Dauphin County health systems, Derry Township-based Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Harrisburg-based PinnacleHealth System, arguing that the merged hospitals would dominate their geographic market.

The failed merger case highlighted the need for clearer antitrust guidance across the country, according to industry observers.

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Lenay Ruhl

Lenay Ruhl

Lenay Ruhl covers Lancaster County, health care and agribusiness. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at lenayr@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @lenay_ruhl.

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