Sentara, Cone Health call off merger
Proposed deal was announced in August 2020
Sentara Healthcare and Greensboro, North Carolina-based Cone Health have abandoned plans for a merger first announced in August 2020, according to a joint statement released Wednesday from the two health care systems.
The Sentara Healthcare Board of Directors and the Cone Health Board of Trustees came to the mutual agreement to end affiliation plans late last week, according to the announcement.
The two health care systems, which would have had a combined $11.5 billion in annual revenue, with 17 hospitals in Virginia and North Carolina, began working in earnest to merge earlier this year, after announcing their deal last August.
In Wednesday’s statement, Sentara officials said, “As this work progressed, we realized that each of our communities and key stakeholders require support and commitments from our respective organizations that are better served by remaining independent. The decision was a difficult one, but both organizations remain dedicated to advancing our common goal of providing outstanding care for our respective communities.”
The two systems were expected to finalize their merger sometime this summer, although a specific date was not announced. In recent weeks, Sentara announced the hiring of Virginia Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne as the health care system’s senior vice president and chief of staff, and Melinda S. Hancock of the VCU Health System as Sentara’s senior vice president and chief administrative officer, with both starting in July.
Sentara President and CEO Howard P. Kern said in a statement Wednesday, “Sentara Healthcare and Cone Health are high-performing, well-respected, community-focused organizations. Those similarities served as the basis for efforts toward an affiliation. I am confident that this mutual decision will not alter either organization’s ongoing commitment to meet the needs of our respective communities. Sentara and Cone Health remain aligned and in agreement that our first priority is to those we serve, and we believe this will be better done as independent organizations. I have no doubt that Cone Health will remain a top tier health system and will continue to pursue new and innovative ways to provide value for North Carolinians for years to come.”
Sentara has 12 hospital locations in Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. The health system employs more than 1,200 physicians and 30,000 people who serve in other roles. Sentara’s Optima Health Plan and Virginia Health Plan serve 850,000 members in Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio. The Cone Health system includes five hospitals in North Carolina, and the health system employs more than 13,000 people. Through its Medicare Advantage health plan, HealthTeam Advantage, it serves 15,000 members.