North Shore-LIJ Targets Second Hospital Purchase

Modern Healthcare
June 6, 2014

North Shore-LIJ Targets Second Hospital Purchase
By Melanie Evans

North Shore-LIJ Health System, Great Neck, N.Y., has entered talks to acquire a second hospital as part of its continuing efforts to transform into a regional healthcare player.

Directors of the 189-bed Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., approved a letter of intent this week to join North Shore-LIJ, which operates a dozen hospitals in New York City and Long Island, N.Y. Last month, directors of the 238-bed Phelps Memorial Hospital, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., also signed a letter of intent to join North Shore-LIJ.

The two pending deals would give North Shore-LIJ a foothold in New York’s upscale Westchester County. The deals follow the system’s launch of its own health insurance company, which began marketing Medicaid managed care and commercial insurance roughly eight months ago.

“We’ve been interested in expanding our footprint,” said North Shore-LIJ spokesman Terry Lynam. Acquisitions would diversify the system’s market and add to its size, he said. The system ended its last fiscal year in December with operating income of $84 million on revenue of $7 billion. “Our longer-term goal would be to really emerge as more of a regional healthcare provider,” he said.

A Northern Westchester Hospital spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Judge Robert Spolzino, Northern Westchester’s board chairman, said in a news release that the hospital sought a larger partner for the “scale and resources to capitalize on the monumental changes currently underway in the healthcare industry.”

Northern Westchester Hospital officials identified North Shore-LIJ as a system with the potential to invest in technology and improve the hospital’s efficiency, said hospital President and CEO Joel Seligman, in the release.

North Shore-LIJ joins a flurry of regional systems that have announced deals following a wave of consolidation among some hospital giants.

The University of Wisconsin Health system, Madison, announced merger plans with SwedishAmerican Health System, Rockford, Ill., last month. Two Illinois systems—St. Anthony’s Health System in Alton and OSF Healthcare System in Peoria—entered merger talks in March. Also in March, three Michigan systems said they would seek to merge: Beaumont Health in Royal Oak, Botsford Health Care in Farmington, and Oakwood Healthcare in Dearborn.

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The Jounal News
June 5, 2014
Northern Westchester Hospital, North Shore Explore Partnership

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 Daily Voice
June 5, 2014
Northern Westchester Hospital Explores Merger With North Shore-LIJ

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Crain's Health Pulse
June 6, 2014
North Shore-LIJ, Northern Westchester Deal

As Pulse reported last month, the North Shore-LIJ Health System was in talks with Northern Westchester Hospital. Those negotiations led to an announcement yesterday that the Mount Kisco hospital's board unanimously approved the signing of a letter of intent to explore joining North Shore-LIJ, enter into exclusive negotiations and begin the due-diligence process. The Westchester hospital hopes to finalize an agreement later this year. NWH President and CEO Joel Seligman said partnering could refine the hospital's medical expertise and technology, cut costs, and improve operating efficiencies. On May 12, Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow made a similar move, with the goal of finalizing a deal by late summer. North Shore-LIJ is expanding geographically not just because it now runs an insurer, CareConnect, but because the system is embracing different models of reimbursement. As President and CEO Michael Dowling wrote in his letter of intent for a Performing Provider System last month, in recent years the system "has begun to think and act differently in terms of health rather than only medical care. We are in the process of changing our clinical model of care to become more accountable for the care we provide and … have acquired new competencies and infrastructure to enter into risk- and value-based contracts."

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Capital New York
June 6, 2014
Northern Westchester Hospital to Explore Joining North Shore-LIJ
By Dan Goldberg

The Northern Westchester Hospital Board of Trustees unanimously approved a letter of intent to explore joining the North Shore-LIJ Health System, according to a press release from the hospital.
The board hopes a final agreement with LIJ can be reached by the end of the year.
North Shore-LIJ has been expanding its footprint, stretching into Manhattan, Staten Island and Florida.

This is LIJ's second agreement in the last month with a Westchester hospital.

In May, Sleepy Hollow's Phelps Memorial Hospital Center signed a letter of intent to explore a partnership with LIJ. That hospital hopes to reach an agreement by the end of the summer, and if it does, it would provide LIJ with its first base in the county.

Montefiore Health System, based in the Bronx, has also been adding financially weak hospitals in Westchester.

The wave of consolidation in New York and across the nation is in response to several factors including the belief that as payers move away from a fee-for-service model and toward capitation, health systems will need access to a diversified group of patients, to whom they can offer primary care services that keep them out of the hospital.

Many of these trends are spurred by the Affordable Care Act, which incentivizes Accountable Care Organizations that receive a set amount of money per patient, per year. In that model, the healthier the patient is kept, the better it is for the bottom line. But that model also requires a large patient base so that outliers, who do become ill and require expensive treatment do not pose too great a burden on the system as a whole.

That helps explain why, for example, Mount Sinai, based in Manhattan, acquired Continuum Health Services.

LIJ has a particular interest in expanding because it is one of only two New York hospitals to offer its own insurance plan on the state's health exchange. Growing its market share across the state could help attract new customers on the exchange.

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Stamford Advocate
June 5, 2014
Northern Westchester Hospital and North Shore-LIJ Enter Exclusive Strategic Partnership Discussions

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