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Acad Med. 2014 Feb;89(2):219-23. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000094.

Success factors in merging teaching hospitals.

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Dr. Thier served as chief executive officer (CEO), Massachusetts General Hospital, and subsequently served as CEO, Partners Healthcare, from 1996 to 2002, Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Kelley served as executive vice president, University of Pennsylvania, chief executive officer (CEO), University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, dean, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (1989-2000), and subsequently served as CEO, Penn Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System (1993-2000), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Pardes served as vice president for health sciences and dean of the faculty of medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and chief executive officer, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, from 2000 to 2011, New York, New York. Ms. Knight is senior vice president and chief operating officer, Children's Hospital Association, Alexandria, Virginia. Mr. Wietecha is president and chief executive officer, Children's Hospital Association, Alexandria, Virginia.


Merger has served as a major strategy for the leaders of academic medical centers (i.e., teaching hospitals) who are pursuing health system development for their institutions. Applying hindsight to their personal experience, the authors explore common themes in several mergers that have survived the test of time. Although many elements influence merger outcomes, experience suggests several of unique importance. These include effective leadership in the areas of creating trust, managing uncertainty, ensuring medical staff stability, and bridging cultural divides across the organizations. While a quantitative business case should support any merger, the authors' experiences underscore the importance of successfully assessing and managing organizational and individual dynamics when bringing together major teaching hospitals.

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