Long Island Business News
September 30, 2013
North Shore-LIJ Enters into Joint Venture
by Claude Solnik
The region’s largest health care provider is expanding its reach and, hopefully, its revenues, through a new joint venture.
North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System has become the partial owner of a Suffolk County radiation-therapy business in a move the system hopes will maximize profits while minimizing overhead increases.
The system said it signed a joint venture agreement with North Shore Radiation Therapy, the parent company of CyberKnife of Long Island, a radiosurgery alternative to traditional surgical treatments that targets tumors with high radiation doses.
The health system thereby becomes the majority owner of North Shore Radiation Therapy, which maintains offices in Smithtown and Greenlawn. The practice is being rebranded as part of the North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute, the health system’s cancer wing.
The idea is to help North Shore-LIJ expand an existing practice area and to give the smaller practice access to the system’s financial resources.
It will be the first of many such combinations, if North Shore-LIJ has its way.
Such ventures provide a middle ground between outright acquisitions, in which the system buys an entire practice, and looser affiliations in which smaller entities like North Shore Radiation Therapy remain independent.
This deal in particular expands The North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute’s Suffolk County presence – the health system already operates the Don Monti Cancer Center at Huntington Hospital – without the high cost of a full acquisition.
“With acquisitions, there’s some upfront capital,” North Shore-LIJ spokesman Terry Lynam said. “A joint venture doesn’t require the same amount of upfront expenditures.”
Yet the benefits are tangible. Dr. Louis Potters, chairman of the North Shore-LIJ Department of Radiation Medicine and co-director of the North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute, said the joint venture adds CyberKnife technology to the health system’s arsenal.
Dr. Richard Byrnes, medical director at CyberKnife of Long Island, said the deal “broadens our resources.”
Others see a direct response to existing Island-based CyberKnife options. Mineola’s Winthrop-University Hospital opened Long Island’s first CyberKnife center in 2006, and hospital spokesman J. Edmund Keating sees the new North Shore-LIJ partnership as a conspicuous turnaround.
“After many years of dismissing CyberKnife, North Shore-LIJ is now adopting the technology because our clinical success in its use is undisputed,” Keating said, adding Winthrop-University is still “the busiest and most experienced center in the United States” for CyberKnife procedures, as well as a primary CyberKnife training site.
The North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute treats more than 16,000 cancer patients annually, which the system said makes it one of the region’s largest cancer programs. North Shore Radiation Therapy treats more than 500 patients annually.
Lynam didn’t reveal details of other potential joint ventures, but said the health system is in talks to expand its presence in new and existing practice areas.
“There are a few others we’re working on,” Lynam said. “It’s definitely going to be the wave of the future.”