SYRACUSE — SUNY Upstate Medical University plans to buy Crouse Hospital in a move that will shake up Syracuse’s health care market.
Crouse, a nonprofit, will merge into Upstate’s health system and be renamed Upstate Crouse Hospital under a proposal that must be approved by the state.
Crouse’s inpatient and outpatient services, as well as its medical practice, will be merged into Upstate’s system.
The combined entity will have more than 13,000 employees, 1,200 licensed inpatient hospital beds and offer more than 70 specialties. Upstate said the deal is not expected to result in any job cuts and employees at both hospitals will continue to be represented by the same unions.
Upstate did not disclose the financial terms of the proposed deal.
Crouse has been operating in Syracuse for 135 years. It delivers more than 3,800 babies annually, more than any other hospital in the region. It cares for high-risk obstetric patients referred by smaller hospitals throughout the region. It also operates a neonatal intensive care unit.
Crouse has 3,200 employees.
Upstate Medical University is the region’s largest employer with nearly 11,000 employees. Its hospital system is known for specialized services such as burn and trauma care, stroke care and pediatric services provided through its Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Upstate is part of the State University of New York. It has 1,600 students studying medicine, nursing and other health professions. Upstate also conducts more than $40 million in funded research annually.
Upstate recently got state approval to take over a building at nearby Hutchings Psychiatric Center where it will provide inpatient mental health care for children.
The acquisition will leave Syracuse with just two general hospital systems — Upstate and St. Joseph’s Health. The city had four hospitals until 2011 when Upstate acquired Community General Hospital on Onondaga Hill. That acquisition turned Upstate into the city’s biggest hospital system.
There has been talk of merging Upstate and Crouse for more than 30 years.
Upstate and Crouse are next-door neighbors. The hospitals are physically connected by a bridge. Many Upstate doctors also practice at Crouse.
A state commission in 2006 recommended Upstate and Crouse join forces as part of an effort to create more efficiency and lower health care costs.
That proposal stalled after running into opposition from hospital officials and unions.
“There has been a natural progression in our relationship over the years,” Dr. Robert Corona, CEO of Upstate University Hospital, said in a prepared statement. “Between the two organizations, there are many clinical services that complement each other.”
Upstate said the deal will significantly increase training opportunities for students in its medical school, college of health professions and nursing schools
The merger could have a big impact on workers, providers, patients and the many businesses that rely on the hospitals for their livelihood.
The deal is likely to be scrutinized by the Federal Trade Commission. That agency routinely reviews proposed hospital mergers to determine if they will hurt competition and result in higher prices.
Crouse entered into a clinical affiliation in 2017 with Long Island-based Northwell, one of the county’s biggest health care systems. Northwell, however, did not buy Crouse as part of that affiliation.
St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse was acquired in 2015 by Trinity Health, one of the nation’s biggest health systems.
It could take Upstate several months to get state approval to buy Crouse.
In the meantime, Crouse and Upstate will remain independent.