New Jersey’s Cooper University Health announced plans last week to acquire three Catholic hospitals in a deal that would create the state’s fourth largest healthcare chain.

Cooper Board Chairman George Norcross said Thursday the healthcare provider has signed a letter of intendent to acquire Trinity Health’s New Jersey facilities that include Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County in Willingboro and St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton. The acquisition, which is still subject to state approval, would create a combined health system with revenues of nearly $2 billion.

Cooper University Health, which operates Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J., has announced plans to acquire three New Jersey Catholic hospitals.
Cooper University Health, which operates Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J., has announced plans to acquire three New Jersey Catholic hospitals. Bloomberg News

“This agreement will bring together healthcare providers from across south and central New Jersey, allowing us to dramatically expand access to the high quality of care for thousands of new patients,” Norcross said in a statement.

Cooper Health has $240 million of outstanding revenue bonds issued by the Camden County Improvement Authority and New Jersey Economic Development Authority, according to Moody’s Investors Service. The health system’s debt rating was affirmed at Baa1 by Moody’s in July due largely to strong revenue growth. Moody’s also noted however that Cooper has weak cash on hand levels and faces heavy regional competition.

Cooper officials plan to invest more than $135 million into Trinity’s hospital facilities in the next few years. Trinity’s second quarter financial statement showed it had 185 days of cash on hand.

“In today’s healthcare environment in New Jersey, continuing success for Lourdes and St. Francis depends on being part of a growing regional network with a broad presence in local communities,” Ben Carter, executive vice president of Trinity Health, said in a statement.

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