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New York health systems urged to lift secrecy surrounding potential merger

Two New York state senators are asking SUNY Upstate Medical University and Crouse Health to lift the secrecy of their proposed merger, syracuse.com reported June 14.

Under the proposal, which was announced April 14, Syracuse, N.Y.-based Crouse Health will become part of the Upstate Medical University Health System, also based in Syracuse. The combined organization would have 13,000 employees, 1,200 licensed inpatient hospital beds and offer more than 70 specialties. Upstate would have a 71 percent share of the Syracuse hospital market, according to syracuse.com.

Hospital officials have refused to answer questions about the proposed merger since announcing the deal, citing advice from their lawyers, according to the report.

"People want transparency from a state hospital," state Sen. John Mannion told the publication. "They want to know what's going on. It should be transparent and public because it would have such a big public impact."

State Sen. Rachel May said she is considering holding a public forum on the merger. She told the publication she is not opposed to the merger given Crouse's financial struggles, but she wants to give residents the chance to ask questions about the deal.

"I totally understand the fear this consolidation will reduce competition in our healthcare market," Ms. May said. "But I think having one hospital go under would be even worse for our community."

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