The Federal Trade Commission has cleared the merger of Lehigh Valley Health Network and the Greater Hazleton Health Alliance.
The merger will become official Jan. 1.
"This is welcome news," said Ronald Swinfard, M.D., LVHN's president and CEO. "We have anxiously awaited hearing from the various regulatory and review agencies since our announcement in the spring. We are eager to begin discussing and implementing plans that will allow us to address our affiliation objectives.
"These objectives include high quality, low cost, sustainable health services that meet the needs of our Hazleton and Lehigh Valley communities."
Under the merger, Greater Hazleton will merge into Lehigh Valley Health Network, and LVHN will become the sole corporate member of Hazleton General Hospital. The hospital will then be known as Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton.
Plans for the merger were announced in April. The two systems have been working together for several years in various clinical service areas, including emergency department coverage and telehealth initiatives.
Lehigh Valley Health Network includes three hospital facilities – two in Allentown and one in Bethlehem; nine health centers caring for communities in four counties; primary and specialty care physician practices; pharmacy, imaging, home health services and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred.
Greater Hazleton Health Alliance is a not-for-profit health care system. Its affiliated entities include the 150-bed Hazleton General Hospital (for inpatient acute and rehab care and emergency care); Hazleton Health & Wellness Center (for outpatient surgery, diagnostic testing and rehabilitation services); and Alliance Medical Group, a multispecialty physician network.