- Hackensack (N.J.) University Health Network and Meridian Health, Neptune, N.J., have signed a preliminary agreement to merge into a regional mega-system. The new organization has set its sights on ambitious plays into the commercial insurance market. The new system, called Hackensack Meridian Health, will have nine acute-care hospitals and two children's hospitals, according to officials. Meridian is also in the process of adding Raritan Bay Medical Center, a two-campus hospital system with locations in Perth Amboy and Old Bridge, N.J. Pending regulatory approval, Hackensack Meridian Health will be the largest health system in New Jersey with about $3.5 billion in annual revenue.
Hackensack, Meridian merging into megasystem in N.J., and other briefs
- HHS will allow Medicare accountable care organizations to continue operating outside of federal kickback and physician self-referral laws for at least another year. Waivers to the federal anti-kickback statute and the federal physician self-referral law, also known as the Stark law, for ACOs participating in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's Medicare Shared Savings Program will be extended through Nov. 2, 2015, HHS' Office of the Inspector General and the CMS said in the interim final rule. The waivers, which have been in place for nearly three years, were otherwise set to expire in November.
- Electronic health-record systems developers and information technology systems integrators not already competing for what could be an $11 billion contract have only a few days to put their bids together. At stake is a 10-year contract to provide a replacement EHR for the Defense Department's Military Health System. Bids are due Oct. 23. Last month, potential bidders were given a two-week extension from the previous Oct. 9 deadline. At least four consortia of bidders are known to be in the hunt to replace a hodgepodge of health IT systems at the Military Health System, which operates 56 hospitals, about 360 clinics and provides care to more than 9.7 million beneficiaries.
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