Press Release

For Immediate Release
Jan 5, 2010
Contact : Michael Valentino  
732-751-7538
mvalentino@meridianhealth.com

Meridian Health Completes Merger With Southern Ocean County Hospital

176-bed Manahawkin hospital and health system joins region’s leading not-for-profit health provider   

Neptune, NJ - Meridian Health has completed its merger with Southern Ocean County Hospital, with the Manahawkin-based hospital and health system officially joining the Neptune-based Meridian system as of January 1, 2010.

The merger follows state approval and nearly a year of due diligence review. Through the merger, Meridian and SOCH will utilize their combined resources to enhance the level of care and service to the community, decrease costs through shared efficiencies and purchasing opportunities, and provide new academic and research opportunities for physicians, nurses, and clinicians.

"We are very excited to welcome the SOCH community into our Meridian family," says John K. Lloyd, FACHE, president, Meridian Health. "This partnership is a natural fit, as Meridian and SOCH share locally-based, not-for-profit missions and cultures, with a history of successful collaborations in such areas as pediatrics, high-risk obstetrics, and home care."

"This is a significant moment in the 37-year history of SOCH, and represents the continued progression and advancement of our hospital," says Joseph P. Coyle, president, Southern Ocean County Hospital. "Meridian and SOCH will be a great partnership providing our patients with direct access to a complete network of the state's best health care services."

Meridian Health, which includes Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital in Neptune, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, and Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, is among the state's most comprehensive not-for-profit health care providers, with health care services that include home care and hospice agencies; skilled nursing and subacute care facilities; physician practices; rehabilitation and fitness centers; occupational health services; home medical equipment and in-home safety technology; ambulance and medical transportation services; as well as outpatient laboratory, imaging, and surgery centers.

Meridian Health has been ranked among the state's top performing health systems for quality and was the first health system in the country to receive Magnet designation for nursing excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a distinction earned by less than 3% of hospitals nationwide. Meridian Health is also one of the few hospital providers in the nation to receive the prestigious John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality, and has for many years been named as one of the nation's Most Wired and Wireless health systems and one of the "Best Places to Work in New Jersey."

During the past 37 years, Southern Ocean County Hospital has greatly advanced its facilities and scope of services. Starting as a small single building in 1972 and growing into the multi-campus health system it is today, SOCH has grown to focus on wellness and outpatient care, as well as quality hospital care. Over the years, SOCH has been recognized by the New Jersey Hospital Association and other organizations for its quality initiatives and significant community outreach.

"SOCH is a great community hospital, with highly dedicated and talented physicians, leaders, nurses, staff, volunteers, and auxilians who have maintained a proud history and tradition of excellent care for the community," says Lloyd. "We look forward to many exciting collaborations in the future that will build on this strong foundation and increase access to an enhanced level of programs and services."

By joining Meridian, SOCH will add over 1,000 team members and 176 inpatient beds to Meridian's existing 8,700 team members, over 1,300 acute hospital beds, and over 500 skilled nursing and rehabilitation beds.

The newly completed merger was kicked-off Tuesday with Meridian leadership hosting breakfast, lunch, and dinner celebrations for team members at SOCH. A transition aligning Meridian and SOCH operations will continue throughout 2010.

"Tuesday is just the start of a great partnership, and in the coming weeks and months, we look forward to meeting with many members of the SOCH community, including physicians, donors, auxiliary members, legislators, municipal and civic leaders, and representatives from throughout this active and vibrant community which we are now very proud to be a part of," says Lloyd.