Healthcare systems in Virginia, North Carolina plan to merge

Published 11:39 am Thursday, August 13, 2020

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Virginia-based Sentara Healthcare and North Carolina-based Cone Health have announced plans to merge, a move that would pair systems with a combined worth of $11.5 billion.

After about 18 months of talks, the Norfolk-based company took the first step on Tuesday toward consolidating its finances with Cone, Sentara CEO Howard Kern told The Virginian-Pilot.

“If either one of us could have bought out the other, that would have just depleted resources . . . that could have just resulted in debt or in financing,” Kern said. “By virtue of doing a merger, neither organization has spent that money, and that money stays in the value of health care going in the community.”

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Kern will lead the combined systems from Norfolk. Cone Health CEO Terry Akin will remain in Greensboro as president of the Cone Health division, according to a statement from Cone Health.

Sentara has 12 hospitals, including one in Elizabeth City. Cone has five hospitals and one facility with a temporary license to care for COVID-19 patients. Sentara has 30,000 workers, while Cone has 13,000.

The proposed merger is subject to state and federal review and should be formalized by mid-2021, but it could take up to two years to complete it.



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