Sentara Healthcare set to merge with North Carolina’s Cone Health


JUNE 2 UPDATE: Sentara Healthcare and Cone Health have decided to end affiliation plans.

Previous coverage:

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Since last year, Sentara Healthcare and North Carolina-based Cone Health were looking to join forces, but they have both decided not to move forward.

Sentara Healthcare issued a statement back in August confirming that the company had signed a letter of intent for the merger with Cone Health, which is headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina.

But on June 2, 2021, Sentara Healthcare announced that they mutually decided to end affiliation plans last week.

Cone Health and Norfolk-based Sentara do not compete in the same markets.

“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,“ says Howard P. Kern, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sentara Healthcare. “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.”

“We’ve been reaching out into the African American communities. Working with churches and doing a lot to make sure that these communities have access to prevention, testing and making sure they get the kinds of care needed.”

Healthcare leaders are committed to the employees.

“We have no plans for layoffs in either organization, as a part of this merger. We hope to see these organizations grow and be successful through the additional programs. The services that are planned as a part of this merger, will bring opportunities for new employment or growth into new jobs. We are very excited.”

Kern plans to lead the organization from the Norfolk headquarters, while Greensboro serves as a regional headquarters for the Cone Health division.

“Cone Health is among the highest-quality health care organizations in the nation, and we are financially strong. With the right partner, we can build on what we’ve created and do even more for those we are privileged to serve,” said Terry Akin, CEO of Cone Health. “We have long said that Cone Health doesn’t intend to grow simply for the sake of growth. Instead, we are partnering for inspiring possibilities.”

Akin will remain on as president of the Cone Health division.

Cone Health currently employs 675 physicians and advanced practice clinicians. Sentara Healthcare has about 1,200 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, or APC, on staff. In total, Sentara has 30,000 employees across its system in Virginia and North Carolina.

Health insurance plan headquarters will be established in Greensboro and Norfolk.

Cone Health says the merger should be formalized by mid-2021, and it may take up to two years for the two companies to fully combine.

There is no word on what the merged company would be called.

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