Pocono Health System, East Stroudsburg, Pa.. and Lehigh Valley Network, based in Allentown, Pa., announced Wednesday that they have signed a merger agreement expected to close in the first half of 2016. The systems signed a letter of intent in May.
The merger will lead to the creation of new facilities, services and programs, according to a news release.
“It will bring continued growth and expansion in health care services for (area) residents, providing them greater access to the highest-quality clinical care, the most sophisticated technology and advanced health records systems, and the largest and most experienced physician network in the area,” said Jeff Snyder, president and CEO of Pocono Health System, in the release.
Additionally, the merger agreement calls for the two systems to collaborate on the creation of a new hospital in Pocono Township called Pocono Medical Center West. The new facility will include ambulatory health centers and clinical services, and will increase patient's access to primary-care physicians and specialists, the systems said.
Pocono and Lehigh have worked together on other projects, like enhancing a trauma center, cancer treatment facilities and other services for a community safety program in Monroe County, which includes Pocono Township.
Pocono Medical Center is one of Monroe County's largest employers with more than 230 physicians and 2,000 employees, and is a fully accredited Level 3 trauma center.
Pocono Medical Center reported income of $13.1 million last year on revenue of $247.3 million.
Lehigh controls five hospital campuses, three of them in Allentown. The other two are in Bethlehem and Hazleton, Pa. Lehigh also operates a children's hospital, the only pediatric facility in the region, which provides care in 28 specialties. Lehigh Valley reported income of $41.9 million on revenue of $1.7 billion last year.
Pocono Health and Lehigh Valley Health Network officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.