Having nearly conquered a perilously large deficit and facing new managed-care and reimbursement pressures, New York City's Presbyterian Hospital has conceded that it needs a strong hospital partner.
Presbyterian, the patient-care arm of venerable Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, is engaged in discussions with at least two leading academic medical centers: New York Hospital and New York University Medical Center.
"The hospital is considering a number of different relationships with a number of different people," said Susan Parker, a spokeswoman for the 1,465-bed hospital. Presbyterian is seeking a partnership, not a merger, Parker said. No timetable for reaching an agreement has been established, and other potential partners have not been ruled out, she added.
In recent years, Presbyterian has endured severe financial troubles and management upheaval. In 1992, the hospital incurred a $50 million deficit. Through layoffs, cost reductions and revenue enhancements, William T. Speck, M.D., Presbyterian's president and chief executive officer since January 1993, has pared the deficit to $2.5 million. He expects the hospital to nearly break even this year.
However, with the state's recent $500 million reduction in Medicaid payments to providers and anticipated cuts in Medicare graduate medical education payments, hospital officials realize that the challenges facing them aren't over.
A New York Hospital spokeswoman confirmed that a variety of nonmerger options are being discussed with Presbyterian. New York Hospital, a 1,310-bed provider, operates a 12-member provider network called NYH Care Network.
A NYU Medical Center spokesman said officials at the 878-bed medical center also are engaged in "ongoing informal discussions" with Presbyterian.