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Westchester hospitals talk merger

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Merger talks have begun between Westchester Medical Center (WMC) in Valhalla and Sound Shore Health System (SSHS) in New Rochelle, hospital officials announced today.

The hospitals have signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to engage in exclusive talks to establish a “formal corporate relationship,” WMC and SSHS officials said in a joint statement.

The private Sound Shore Health System operates the 252-bed Sound Shore Medical Center and  Schaffer Extended Care Center in New Rochelle, the 196-bed Mount Vernon Hospital and the Hofer School of Nursing at the downtown Mount Vernon hospital. Both its New Rochelle and Mount Vernon hospitals are teaching affiliates of New York Medical College, which shares a Grasslands campus with WMC, an advanced medical care and referral hospital run by a public benefit corporation.

WMC President and CEO Michael Israel in the announcement said the Sound Shore facilities “are critical links to quality care for everyone in southern Westchester, and we are committed to furthering the programs and services that the people of that area have come to expect and rely on.” Israel said WMC will maintain Sound Shore’s New Rochelle and Mount Vernon campuses while strengthening clinical and academic organization for SSHS physicians.

SSHS President and CEO John Spicer said the institution in its strategic planning “determined we would be in a stronger position to continue delivering on our mission of improving the health status of our community by partnering with WMC. … Health care in Westchester just got stronger.”

Hospital officials said WMC and SSHS will combine their financial resources to “provide a smooth transition toward operational and fiscal stability, consolidated services and necessary infrastructure needs.” Merged operations later will generate the capital funding to support the combined organizations, they said.

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