Having successfully fended off an antitrust challenge from the U.S. Justice Department, the 15-month-old North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Great Neck, N.Y., is looking again to bolster its managed-care negotiating clout.
The 12-hospital system is quietly engaged in partnership discussions with New York's newly created Mount Sinai-NYU Medical Center and Health System, which owns or is affiliated with 26 hospitals, MODERN HEALTHCARE has learned. The two systems cover a broad swath of territory running from New York City and surrounding counties to Long Island's Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Healthcare executives, who asked not be identified, said they were aware of the talks but did not know whether the systems would come to terms. It's believed that an agreement between North Shore-LIJ and Mount Sinai-NYU would be structured so that the systems could jointly negotiate with third-party payers. An agreement is not expected to involve a merger of assets.
North Shore-LIJ spokeswoman Carol Hauptman confirmed the talks but said it would be premature to describe possible structures. "We're talking to them, but we're talking to a lot of people," she said. "There's nothing definitive at this point."
Mel Granick, a Mount Sinai Medical Center spokesman, would not confirm the talks. "I can tell you only that as part of the continuing development of our regional network, Mount Sinai has been in discussions with any number of institutions exploring possible opportunities throughout the metropolitan area; and as a matter of policy we do not comment on any discussion in which we may be involved."
In 1997, the Justice Department attempted to block the proposed merger of North Shore Health System in Manhasset, N.Y., and Long Island Jewish Medical Center in nearby New Hyde Park, arguing in court that a merger would raise prices and reduce competition. But U.S. District Judge Arthur Spate found no evidence of anti-competitive behavior and threw the case out. The hospitals pledged to freeze prices for two years.