VALHALLA, N.Y. — Valhalla's Westchester Medical Center and the Sound Shore Health System, which includes hospitals in New Rochelle and Mount Vernon, have agreed to a corporate merger, the organizations announced Tuesday.
"The days of an independent hospital are over," Sound Shore Health CEO and President John Spicer said in a phone interview. "We needed to collaborate with the larger medical center."
The Sound Shore Health System includes the Sound Shore Medical Center in New Rochelle and Mount Vernon Hospital.
The two organizations are in the early stages of establishing the corporate relationship after signing a Memorandum of Understanding, which allow them to be in exclusive talks, said Spicer and Michael Israel, CEO of Westchester Medical Center.
The preliminary merger will offer more than just one large hospital in three locations, Israel said.
"The hospitals within the Sound Shore Health System focus more on primary and secondary care, where we focus more on specialty care," he said. "So the models are different."
Over the past two years, Westchester Medical Center has gone through a string of layoffs due to budget cuts. Those layoffs are not a sign of financial instability, Israel said.
"We're in our seventh straight year of profitability," he said. "Being a public benefit corporation and a part of the New York State pension plan, we have pension and post-retirement health plan costs that are three times what other hospitals have, so we are reacting to the environment."
The two systems will know more about the merger and how it will affect services and the landscape of the three hospitals as a whole in the next "45 to 60 days," Israel said. It was too early to determine whether the corporate relationship would be given a new name, Israel and Spicer said.