Continuum Health Partners says it’s suspending merger talks with NYU Langone Medical Center and is instead considering a bid by Mount Sinai. The announcement comes just two weeks after Continuum and NYU officials announced an agreement to formally pursue a merger.
In a statement, Mount Sinai officials said they feel Continuum has “a right to explore any and all merger options.”
NYU plans to re-evaluate the terms if Continuum resumes their negotiations, according to a joint statement.
A Continuum merger with either NYU or Mt. Sinai would create one of the biggest medical networks in the city, with a combined total of about 4,200 hospital beds.
Mergers between healthcare networks are undergoing increased scrutiny, according to Matt Cantor, an antitrust lawyer from Constantine and Cannon. A merger with either NYU or Mount Sinai may raise red flags from both the attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission.
Cantor said all the hospitals involved in the merger talks already account for much of the healthcare market. New Yorkers only have a few healthcare providers to choose from in Manhattan.
“It’s a concentrated marketplace when it comes to hospital services,” Cantor said. “You are looking at entities that have a significant share of that marketplace already.”
The formation of Continuum Health Partners in 1996 is itself a result of mergers among four Manhattan hospitals. The network boasts about 3,100 hospital beds among its four hospitals: Beth Israel, St. Luke’s Hospital, Roosevelt Hospital and the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. NYU Langone Medical Center has 1,069 beds and Mount Sinai has 1,171.
The Federal Trade Commission would review the terms of any merger negotiations to ensure competing healthcare providers are not driven out and costs to patients do not rise.