The move triggers assessment and design of a new care model for people living in Trenton and the surrounding area in the US state of New Jersey. The organisations aim to forge a definitive agreement.

During their due diligence period, Capital Health and St. Francis will hold discussions on combining and improving their capabilities, subject to state and federal approvals, among others.

The focus will be on enhancing access to care and efficiency in providing healthcare.

St. Francis Medical Center Board of Trustees chairman Joseph Youngblood said: “Together, we are steadfast in our commitment to provide area residents, including the underserved with high-quality, comprehensive care and to improve the delivery of healthcare for our community.”

St. Francis Medical Center provides cardiac catheterisation and angioplasty services, along with ablation and heart arrhythmia treatments and diagnostics.

It also has a Stroke Program, Emergency Services, Sleep Disorder Center, Behavioral Health Inpatient Service and HIV Program.

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Capital Health president and CEO Al Maghazehe said: “From its founding as the city’s first hospital in 1874 to its important role as an acute care teaching hospital and Mercer County’s only provider of comprehensive cardiac surgery, St. Francis Medical Center has always put the needs of Trenton and surrounding neighborhoods first.

“This approach aligns very well with Capital Health’s mission, and we are committed to our shared vision of providing the highest level of care for the community.”

Capital Health operates two hospitals, an outpatient facility and primary and specialty care practices.