Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Lessons from New York State: Best Practices Concerning Merging Religious and Secular Hospitals

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

May 12, 2011







In recent years, the New York State Commission on Health Care Facilities in the Twenty-First Century and State HEAL grants have prompted significant hospital restructuring, including some mergers of secular and religiously affiliated hospitals.

Plans are underway to merge Northeast Health’s Samaritan Hospital, a secular health system, with nearby St. Mary’s Hospital, a Catholic facility, to create one hospital for the city of Troy, New York. Northeast Health reached out to the MergerWatch Project for assistance with the planning process. MergerWatch identified the lessons and best practices from these religious/secular hospital transactions in order to guide future hospital consolidation in New York and elsewhere.

MergerWatch prepared three to five case examples to identify productive roles for hospital executives and boards, community residents, hospital staff and physicians with admitting privileges, and State and local officials. Research included interviews with hospital leaders, stakeholder groups (such as physicians and consumer advocates), New York State Department of Health regulatory staff, and officers of supporting foundations. Using the information gathered, expert consultants in the fields of health law, hospital finance, and management identified key challenges and the strategies used to address them by hospital management and State policymakers and stakeholders.