Meridian Health agrees to acquire 2 more New Jersey hospitals; state needs to sign off

A New Jersey shore health care group has an agreement to buy two hospitals.

Meridian Health of Monmouth and Ocean Counties announced Wednesday that it is acquiring Raritan Bay Medical Center, which has hospitals in Perth Amboy and Old Bridge.

The deal needs approval from the state Attorney General and Health Department before it can be finalized.

It would extend the reach of a chain based in Ocean and Monmouth Counties into Middlesex County.

Meridian is also about a month away from finalizing a deal to merge with Hackensack University Health, which has hospitals from northeastern New Jersey to the shore.

New Jersey hospital chains have been expanding to take advantage of funding changes under President Barack Obama's health insurance overhaul.