SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– Hospital leadership from SUNY Upstate and Crouse Health gathered for the first time Monday night to publicly discuss their mega deal to merge the two institutions since it was first announced in April 2022.

The first of two public forums brought out dozens of community members to the North Syracuse Junior High School, many interested in what the quality of care will look like when the two institutions become one. A number of the attendees were current Crouse employees who said they feel they’ve been left in the dark about the merger. 

“What does that mean for us? What does that mean for our insurance premiums? What does that mean for our insurance benefits?”

Crouse employee

Many of those questions went unanswered as hospital leadership said the details of the merger are still being worked out, but the Chair for Crouse Health’s Board of Directors, Patrick Mannion wanted to make it clear that no jobs would be cut. 

“The rationale for doing this consolidation does not involve firing half the people and moving on I mean this is not a transaction that is going to be supported by downsizing this is a transaction that’s gonna be supported by growth,” he said. 

The two institutions have a combined total of 13,000 employees and 1,200 patient beds. 

If the merger goes through Crouse employees will continue to work at Crouse and Upstate employees will continue to work at Upstate. SUNY Upstate President, Dr. Mantosh Dewan said the hospitals will operate independently in the beginning as they abide by union contracts, however, they plan to integrate both hospitals more fully down the road. 

“I think we need to start sensibly, but stability is very important.”

Dr. Mantosh Dewan, SUNY Upstate President

As for the financial side of the deal, SUNY Upstate won’t pay a penny upfront to acquire Crouse Hospital. Instead, it will take on the smaller hospital’s debt, about $70 million according to Dr. Dewan. 

He said Upstate has been saving up over the past two years and has built up a reserve of $241 million. Therefore, no taxpayer money or state money will be spent on the deal. 

Hospital leadership also made it known during the meeting that Crouse Health initiated the conversation with Upstate as they were facing mounting financial trouble. It was clear from the attendees Monday night that community members are glad it’s a local institution entering into a deal with Crouse. They hope the quality of care they’ve experienced at Crouse will stick around. 

SUNY Upstate has submitted a Certificate of Public Advantage to the NYS Department of Health for approval. Once the state approves the deal there are a few other approvals needed before the merger is complete. Dr. Dewan anticipates the deal will be done by next year.  

If you didn’t get a chance to attend the public forum Monday night you’ll have another opportunity Thursday, August 18 at 5:30pm at the Southwest Community Center.