By David Madden

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) – The formal merger came a month ago. Now, the names are changing on three South Jersey hospitals to demonstrate the formal marriage between Kennedy Health and the Jefferson Health Systems.

The Kennedy name may be gone in Cherry Hill, Straftord and Washington Township, but a half century of progress sets a standard of performance as part of Jefferson Health New Jersey.

President Joe Devine was CEO of Kennedy.

“This  is a grow for us and this is an opportunity for us to become an integral part of a world prestigious organization,” he told staffers and guests at a ceremony marking the name change in Cherry Hill. “And now that we’ve done all of the great things we’ve done, we now have to even do it better.”

Jefferson CEO Stephen Klasko insisted these onetime competitors are “all in” with this merger.

“The reason that this naming is so important, the reason this marriage is so important, is because the citizens of these townships will now be healthier because of it,” Klasko said. “It’s just not going to be about what happens when they come into this great hospital. It’s going to be how we affect every single person here in South Jersey.”

One key aim is providing more services locally so patients need not necessarily cross the Delaware River. To that end, look for the JeffConnect tele-health program to expand into South Jersey along with a local hub for the Kimmel Cancer Center being set up.

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