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New York, Connecticut health systems plan merger to create 28-hospital system

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Northwell Health and Nuvance Health announced Wednesday that they plan to come together. Northwell said it would make substantial investments in Nuvance.

Two hospital systems serving patients in New York and Connecticut are planning to join forces.

Image: Northwell Health

John M. Murphy, MD, president and CEO of Nuvance Health, left, and Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, announced the planned merger of the two health systems Wednesday. (Image: Northwell Health)

Northwell Health and Nuvance Health announced their plans to merge Wednesday. If regulators approve the deal, the combined system would operate 28 hospitals and more than 1,000 sites of care. The merged organization would also have more than 14,500 providers.

Northwell is based in New York and the state’s largest healthcare provider, operating 21 hospitals in New York City and Long Island. Nuvance runs seven hospitals in western Connecticut and New York’s Hudson Valley.

The deal represents another mega merger of hospital systems, with both systems having more than $1 billion in revenue. Northwell Health posted $15.6 billion in revenue in 2022, while Nuvance recorded $2.6 billion.

Northwell said it would make substantial investments in Nuvance, and the systems pledged to work to improve disparities and close outcomes in disadvantaged groups. They also promised to provide care to all patients, regardless of their ability to pay.

Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, said the two organizations have similar missions.

“This partnership opens a new and exciting chapter for Northwell and Nuvance Health and provides an incredible opportunity to enhance both health systems and take patient care and services to an even higher level,” Dowling said in a statement.

In a video message announcing the partnership, Dowling said, “We can actually do more together than we can do separately. Nuvance does wonderful things. We do great things. So when you bring two organizations together, you can learn from one another, share best practices, get more insight. And obviously, the end game, of course, has to be improved care to the communities.”

John M. Murphy, MD, president and CEO of Nuvance Health, touted the potential to provide better care at its hospitals.

“By joining forces with Northwell Health, we are taking a giant leap forward in our shared mission to enhance the quality, accessibility and equity of the health care we provide to our communities,” Murphy said in a statement. “This agreement enables us to make significant improvements to health outcomes for community hospitals and to deliver unparalleled care and drive positive change in the healthcare landscape.”

The organizations said Nuvance would enjoy Northwell’s financial and clinical resources, but they said both systems would gain additional purchasing power to expand healthcare offerings.

Northwell and Nuvance also said the planned merger would improve their ability to hire and keep top doctors, nurses, researchers, and other healthcare professionals.

Dowling said Northwell and Nuvance will look at “what we can do collectively to enhance access, improve clinical care, and obviously, how to enhance and create the talent for the future or to enhance our educational programs.”

Northwell boasts an “A-” rating from Fitch Ratings. Last April, Fitch said the rating reflects “Northwell's leading market share position in a large and competitive service area where it has an expansive presence with acute care and ambulatory coverage, supported by a large physician component. The rating also reflects Northwell's proven ability to successfully manage growth.”

Nuvance’s hospitals include Danbury Hospital and its New Milford campus, Norwalk Hospital and Sharon Hospital in Connecticut; and Northern Dutchess Hospital, Putnam Hospital and Vassar Brothers Medical Center in New York.

The merger is the latest in a series of hospital mergers. In 2023, there were 65 announced hospital deals, up from 53 transactions in 2022, according to a report by Kaufman Hall.

Analysts expect to see more hospitals to pursue mergers and acquisitions in the coming year, especially as some face financial difficulties or are looking to find partnerships with stronger systems.

Read more: Big deals: Looking at the major hospital mergers of 2023

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