New York hospital receives backlash for not being transparent about merger

United University Professions, the union that represents 4,445 employees at Syracuse, N.Y.-based Upstate University Hospital, is criticizing the hospital for its attempt to prevent federal officials from reviewing a proposed merger, The Post-Standard reported Aug. 3.

SUNY Upstate University Hospital is currently seeking immunity from federal antitrust merger oversight and enforcement of its proposed merger with Crouse Hospital, also in Syracuse. The two merging hospitals applied for a certificate of public advantage without announcement, according to the publication, which would allow the state to approve the merger without a Federal Trade Commission investigation to determine the merger's impact on a loss of competition. If approved, the state's health department would monitor the merger instead. 

This is the first time a certificate of public advantage has been filed in the state for a hospital merger. 

United University Professions president Fred Kowal, PhD, said he is uncomfortable with the hospital's move and believes the merger will cause loss of competition, The Post-Standard said. 

"I think there was legitimate concern on the part of leadership at Upstate who came to the conclusion that this merger might not fly with the FTC," Dr. Kowal told the publication. 

If approved, Syracuse would only have two health systems, and Upstate would have 71 percent of the city's inpatient market.

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