Lehigh Valley Health Network's planned merger with the Greater Hazleton Health Alliance (GHHA) is moving forward.
On Wednesday, the groups announced the merger had cleared the regulatory process with the Federal Trade Commission, the Pa. Attorney General's office and the Orphans' Court of Luzerne County.
Under the terms of the agreement, GHHA will merge into LVHN, and Hazleton General Hospital will be known as Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton.
Announced in April, the merger builds on a collaboration between the two networks over the past several years.
"This is welcome news," said Ronald Swinfard, MD, LVHN's president and CEO. "We have anxiously awaited hearing from the various regulatory and review agencies since our announcement in the spring. We are eager to begin discussing and implementing plans that will allow us to address our affiliation objectives. These objectives include high quality, low cost, sustainable health services that meet the needs of our Hazleton and Lehigh Valley communities."
Dr. Swinfard emphasized that the quality of the care and the people who provide that care at GHHA were the keys to its success and what made affiliating with LVHN, a natural fit. "We are anxious to continue learning from one another as we jointly meet the challenges of today's changing health care environment."
"Dr. Swinfard and Lehigh Valley Health Network have made a commitment to this community, a commitment that they have demonstrated time and time again through our existing clinical partnerships," said Jim Edwards, president and CEO, GHHA.
"We're excited that now we can take this relationship to a new level as part of LVHN
and focus on expanding and adding to our services so that people don't have to leave Hazleton for specialty care."
Edwards reemphasized how both organizations value their employees and realize that is where the care starts.
Edwards and Dr. Swinfard said the merged organization would conduct a needs assessment to determine how it would meet the health care needs of the community going forward.
The merger takes effect Jan. 1, 2014.
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