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LVHN Hopes to Merge With Jefferson

LVHN Hellertown

Two of the largest health systems in the region announced plans to merge Tuesday.

Est. Read Time: 3 mins

Two of the largest health systems in the region announced plans to merge Tuesday.

Lehigh Valley Health Network and Philadelphia-based Jefferson have signed a non-binding letter of intent to combine and create “a leading regional health care system, including a national research university and a not-for-profit expanded health plan,” a LVHN news release said.

If approved by regulators, the combined entity would operate 30 hospitals and more than 700 outpatient facilities, and employ more than 62,000 people across eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.

“The health care landscape and our communities’ needs are changing; it is critical leading systems evolve and make investments in the future of care and wellness—growing and protecting access to enhanced, affordable, high-quality and innovative care, particularly for historically under-served patients,” said Joseph G. Cacchione, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Jefferson, in a statement.

“Combining Jefferson’s and LVHN’s resources will allow us to meet the changing needs of our diverse communities faster, more efficiently and more effectively,” he added.

“We are thrilled to be combining with Jefferson and excited about the immediate and long-term benefits this combination will create for the communities of the Lehigh Valley and eastern Pennsylvania,” said Brian A. Nester, DO, MBA, MS, FACOEP, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lehigh Valley Health Network. “In Jefferson, we have found an ideal partner that shares our culture and commitment to excellence in clinical care and a learning environment, and that has done a fabulous job in establishing a highly successful health plan with a sharp focus on the well-being of Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries.”

According to the news release, some of the benefits of a merger between LVHN and Jefferson would include reduced costs through expert population health management, expanded clinical research programs, a reduction in health care disparities among vulnerable populations, a larger geographical footprint and improved financial stability for both organizations.

Pending completion of all necessary regulatory reviews and closing conditions, the merger is expected to occur sometime in 2024, the release said. Prior to that both hospital networks will continue to operate independently.

Once a merger is completed, Cacchione “will continue to serve as Chief Executive Officer of the Jefferson Enterprise (and)…Nester will serve as Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer and President of the legacy Lehigh Valley Health Network, reporting directly to Dr. Cacchione,” the release said. It further noted that “the newly integrated Board of Trustees and leadership team will be comprised of members from both systems” and that “the specifics will be worked out in the definitive agreement.”

Lehigh Valley Health Network recently proposed development of a medical office building and microhospital on the site of the former Champion spark plug factory in Hellertown.

The health network also operates a primary care facility, LVPG Family Medicine-Hellertown, on Main Street in the borough. The two-story office building known as the Health Center at Hellertown is also home to laboratory testing and rehabilitation services that are affiliated with LVHN.

In a statement shared with the Morning Call and other local news outlets, the CEO and president of St. Luke’s University Health Network–LVHN’s primary competitor for providing health care services to area residents–congratulated Lehigh Valley Health Network and Jefferson on their announcement.

“All of us at St. Luke’s have always respected LVHN as a vibrant local competitor for many years,” said Rick Anderson. “We made each other better. Be assured that St. Luke’s will continue to focus on continuing to be the lowest cost provider with the highest quality care, including easy to access services in the Lehigh Valley region. St. Luke’s, as a nationally recognized major teaching hospital and health network, will remain committed to serving our local communities as a market leader and as a vibrant, not-for-profit health network governed by a board of trustees with local roots.”

LVHN Hellertown

The Health Center at Hellertown located at 708 Main Street is home to LVPG Family Medicine-Hellertown and other health care providers affiliated with Lehigh Valley Health Network. LVHN announced plans to merge with Philadelphia’s Jefferson hospital system Tuesday.


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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at

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