Montefiore and AECOM reach agreement on partnership to run teaching hospital

The financial instability of Yeshiva University, the institution that operates the Einstein College of Medicine, has been tentatively addressed.

The school’s medical students, concerned about possible cuts to the graduate college and its research programs, rallied on the campus on Tuesday, February 3 to call for an agreement between Montefiore and AECOM due to Yeshiva University’s ongoing budget crises.

At the time of the rally, the dean of the college of medicine, Dr. Allen Spiegel, announced that all parties were very close to a deal, but a statement released later in the day indicated a deal had been negotiated by AECOM, Yeshiva, and Montefiore jointly.

AECOM has been affiliated with Montefiore for more than 50 years.

The framework of the agreement, which will be subject to regulatory approval, appears to have been cemented.

It creates a joint entity of both Montefiore and the Manhattan-based Yeshiva, with Montefiore gradually assuming responsibility for the day-to-day operations and financial management of both Einstein’s operations and its faculty, and Yeshiva remaining the degree-granting institution with an important role in educational aspects of the medical college.

“The Boards of Trustees of Montefiore Health System and Yeshiva University announced today that they have agreed on the principal terms of an agreement with respect to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine,” read the statement. “While subject to final documentation and regulatory approval, the parties are proud to continue their long-standing relationship as part of Einstein’s future as a top-tier medical school and research institution.”

The statement continued: “The agreement deepens the bonds between Montefiore and Einstein, further integrates the institutions’ faculty, students, and staff, and aligns operations to best advance science and medicine.”

Word of the negotiations was made public in May 2014, but now the framework has been accepted. Final details should be forthcoming, according to the statement.

The news does not come soon enough for the students, with more than 100 rallying in front of 1301 Morris Park Avenue calling for a closer partnership that they believe would shore up the AECOMs finances and protect staffing, operations, and basic science research at the facility.

“We were excited to see the turnout by the students,” said one of the rally’s speakers, second year Ph.D. student Alyssa Casill.

“It is not specifically clear what would happen, but we knew that the graduate division would be taking some kind of hit,” explained one of the student leaders, second year Ph.D. Kim Hammond, who spoke at the rally. She said that the news of a tentative deal gave her hope.

Important for many in the local community, jobs which might have otherwise been cut, may now remain.

“Einstein itself is a huge economic driver for the Bronx,” said student Dayle Hodge, president of the AECOM MD-Ph.D. student council. “There are a lot of people employed here.”

Medical student Angelo Landriscina said he was more hopeful after hearing the news of a tentative agreement, adding that since a medical teaching colleges prestige is determined by how much research is going on, cuts to faculty and science research would decease the prestige of his degree (if finances caused cutbacks).

“Basic science is very important to advancing one’s career as a physician,” he said.

The less financing, the less staff and faculty, and the less research and prestige, he explained.

Yeshiva’s budget debt reached $150 million last year.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procc‌hio@c‌ngloc‌al.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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