Wayne (N.J.) General Hospital is engaged in negotiations that may result in a merger with Saint Barnabas Health Care System, the state's largest healthcare system.
It is the hospital's second attempt to align with another acute-care provider.
If a deal is struck, it would culminate a two-year exploration that involved the assessment of 18 different acute-care hospitals in New York and New Jersey and various partnership models, said Justin E. Doheny, Wayne General's president and chief executive officer. Wayne General would be represented on a consolidated Saint Barnabas governing board.
The 219-bed hospital used a numerical system to identify the best potential marriages. Saint Barnabas emerged as a top match. But so did Denville, N.J.-based Northwest Covenant Medical Center.
Last year, Wayne General entered exclusive affiliation discussions with Northwest Covenant, which operates St. Clares-Riverside Medical Center in Denville and Dover (N.J.) General Hospital and Medical Center (May 1, 1995, p. 32). By summer, the exclusive talks were terminated.
It's believed that a proposed deal fell apart over issues related to aligning a Roman Catholic and a secular hospital.
"That would be a simplistic characterization," said Doheny, who declined to elaborate.
Peggy Carroll, spokeswoman for Northwest Covenant, would not confirm the scenario, saying only that talks with Wayne General have ended.
Meanwhile, Northwest Covenant is in talks with New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, "potentially leading to joint cancer-care programs," Carroll said. Northwest Covenant offers inpatient and outpatient cancer services as well as educational and support programs.