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Analysis

Sentara Healthcare, Cone Health Plan Merger to 'Shape Change'

By Melanie Blackman  
   August 12, 2020

Subject to state and federal review, the merger is planned to be formalized by mid-2021, with an additional two years to fully integrate.

Virginia-based Sentara Healthcare and North Carolina–based Cone Health announced today that they have signed a letter of intent to combine the two health systems.

According to a press release, their goal is "to bring together two strong industry leaders into a unified, transformative and value-driven organization at the forefront of change that will be a model for the rest of the nation's healthcare systems."

The letter of intent terms have been approved by both the Sentara Healthcare board of directors and the Cone Health board of trustees. Subject to state and federal review, the merger is planned to be formalized by mid-2021, with an additional two years to fully integrate.

"This rapidly changing healthcare environment requires tremendous transformation and innovation to ensure the long-term success of each respective health system and, most importantly, the very best for those we are privileged to serve," said Howard P. Kern, president and CEO of Sentara Healthcare in the press release. "We can either react to change, or we can shape it. We are choosing to shape change and will lead this transformation of healthcare together."

"Our integration strengthens and accelerates our shared mission and strategy to transform healthcare in the communities we serve. We have long said we will not grow just for growth's sake. We are joining forces to tackle the toughest challenges in healthcare," said Terry Akin, CEO of Cone Health.

The health systems will focus on expanding their value-based care models, increasing their integrated health insurance options, and building technology platforms to increase patient access.

Both leaders will serve the merged healthcare organization, with Kern overseeing the combined organization and Akin serving as president of the Cone Health division.

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Melanie Blackman is the strategy editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


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