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Atlantic Health withdraws from talks with Somerset Medical

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Joseph Trunfio, CEO of Atlantic Health System
Joseph Trunfio, CEO of Atlantic Health System

The Morristown-based Atlantic Health System disclosed today it is no longer in talks with Somerset Medical Center, as it announced the signing of an agreement originally announced last October to create an alliance with the Hunterdon Healthcare System, to be called the MidJersey Health Alliance.

Atlantic CEO Joseph Trunfio and Hunterdon CEO Robert Wise discussed the MidJersey Health Alliance in a telephone press conference with reporters this afternoon.

Trunfio said Atlantic is having discussions with other hospitals in the mid-Jersey region, and was one of the two health systems that had been approached by Somerset Medical Center.

"We have decided not to proceed with the proposal to join with Somerset Medical Center," he said, emphasizing that the Somerset talks were unrelated to the decision to join with Hunterdon and create the MidJersey Health Alliance. And he said Atlantic would announce another hospital relationship in the next four to six weeks.

Trunfio and Wise explained that their two systems would remain independent, and would work collaboratively on health care initiatives through the MidJersey Health Alliance. The alliance will also enable the two systems to achieve some economies of scale through joint purchasing, they said.

Wise said the alliance will be "a dynamic partnership, giving us the resources to ensure that we are not missing the advantages that are already available in the region and strengthening the population health initiatives" of each institution.

Trunfio said the alliance will provide opportunities to reduce costs by consolidating in areas like the purchase of drugs and medical equipment. More importantly, he said, it is "an opportunity to share best clinical practices and quality initiatives. By bringing together in partnership two outstanding organizations, the sum will be greater than the parts. We will improve the quality of care by working closely together."

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Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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