NY may close hospitals if merger talks fail

The state of New York is making two Buffalo-area hospitals an offer they can't refuse. If they can't complete a contentious merger, the state may close one of their facilities. Kaleida Health and Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) have talked merger on and off for years, but the talks have never progressed beyond the chatting stage. Now, with the two discussing a merger again, the state has gotten involved, with terms that put the two on the spot in a way that few hospitals ever face. These terms come out of the state's Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, which is pushing hard for the merger as part of its recommendations (now holding the force of law).

The terms are as follows: if the two manage to merge by the end of the year, the state will fund hundreds of millions of dollars in health construction projects and pay facilities debt. But on the other hand, if the two don't get the merger done, the state says it may close ECMC or Kaleida's Buffalo General Hospital. Despite the pressures, making a merger work will be a real trick; the two entities aren't even in agreement as to where services should be located, which entity should control them, or even what the ultimate goal of the proposed merger would be.

To learn more about the merger situation:
- read this article from The Buffalo News