Cone Health to merge with Sentara Healthcare; Greensboro to serve as regional headquarters


GREENSBORO, N.C. — Cone Health is set to merge with Sentara Healthcare.

Cone Health issued a statement Wednesday confirming that the company has signed a letter of intent for the merger with the Norfolk, Virginia-based Sentara Healthcare.

“As two of the top-performing health systems in the United States, Cone Health and Sentara Healthcare share similar missions, strategies and cultures,” said FD Hornaday, chair of the Cone Health Board of Trustees. “This planned merger positions our organizations to address more effectively the toughest challenges facing health care systems: increasing access and affordability.” 

Currently, Cone Health and Sentara do not compete in the same markets, meaning the public will not lose any of their healthcare options.

“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,” says 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.”

Sentara Healthcare President and CEO Howard Kern plans to lead the organization from the Norfolk headquarters, while Greensboro serves as a regional headquarters for the Cone Health division.

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

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

“This rapidly changing health care environment requires tremendous transformation and innovation to ensure the long-term success of each respective health system and, most importantly, the very best for our patients and health plan members,” said Howard P. Kern, president and chief executive officer of Sentara Healthcare. “We can either react to change, or we can shape it. We are choosing to shape change and will lead this transformation of health care together.”

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.

No word on what the merged company would be called.

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