US-based healthcare networks St Peter’s Healthcare System and Atlantic Health System have signed a letter of intent (LOI) to form a strategic partnership and fully integrate their health networks.

The organisations will now begin a due diligence process, working towards a definitive agreement that will detail the specifics of their partnership.

This agreement is expected in the coming months.

St Peter’s Healthcare System includes St Peter’s Foundation and the 478-bed St Peter’s University Hospital, as well as a children’s hospital, a regional perinatal centre and other healthcare services.

The healthcare network is supported by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen.

St Peter’s Healthcare System president and CEO Leslie Hirsch said: “Although Saint Peter’s is stronger today than ever, throughout this journey it has become clear that to assure our future success, we need a strategic partner whose resources, capabilities and values are aligned with our mission.

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“We are very excited about the prospect of becoming a part of Atlantic Health as it has an excellent reputation for being a high-quality healthcare provider and our respective cultures are very well-aligned.”

Atlantic Health is a not-for-profit system that provides healthcare services in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the New York metropolitan areas.

The group currently employs 20,000 direct colleagues and 5,440 affiliated physicians.

Completion of the deal is subject to approvals from the state and federal officials, as well as the Diocese of Metuchen.

Atlantic Health System CEO and president Brian Gragnolati said: “Today is the first step on an exciting path towards a joining of talents between St Peter’s and Atlantic Health System that will benefit the health and well-being of the people of New Jersey.

“We are thrilled to partner with Saint Peter’s to ensure that high quality, affordable and accessible care remains available to all who need it.”