By David Matthau July 16, 2017 10:22 PM

Hospital mergers continue to take place in New Jersey at a fast pace.

Recently Barnabas Health and Robert Wood Johnson Health System merged into RWJ Barnabas Health System.

Hackensack University Health Network and Meridian Health joined forces to become Hackensack Meridian.

“We are definitely seeing an increase in hospital mergers in New Jersey. We probably have about 80 percent of the state’s hospitals now part of a multi hospital system,” said Kerry McKean Kelly, vice president of communications for the New Jersey Hospital Association.

She said the trend is being driven by multiple factors, but money is at the heart of it.

Hospitals have faced a lot of funding cuts in recent years and they could be looking at far deeper cuts, depending on what Congress does with replacing the Affordable Care Act.

“Being part of a larger system can put hospitals in a better place to weather those type of cuts,” she said.

Read More: Why hospital mergers are the new normal in New Jersey |