Montefiore Medical Center buying Westchester Square Medical Center

Employees of Westchester Square Medical Center, seen here in the Bronx St. Patrick’s Day Parade, could face possible layoffs.

Montefiore Medical Center announced Wednesday it has reached an agreement to purchase the struggling Westchester Square Medical Center.

It did not disclose the terms of the sale of the hospital, which is currently struggling under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The takeover could also mean several hundred layoffs of WSMC workers.

Montefiore has expanded dramatically in recent years, taking over other failing medical facilities and bringing a number of medical practices into its fold.

It most recently announced plans to the occupy several floors of a new office tower rising at the Hutch Metro Center, offering ambulatory surgery.

“Montefiore Medical Center has signed an agreement to purchase New York Westchester Square Medical Center (NYWSMC), a Bronx, N.Y., neighborhood hospital currently operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection,” Montefiore said in a statement.

“WSMC filed a motion to approve the Asset Purchase Agreement on Dec. 7, 2012, with the bankruptcy court as part of a bidding process leading to a sale,” the statement continued. “Montefiore’s offer is supported with funding available under New York State’s Health Efficiency and Affordability Law.”

Under the terms of its agreement with WSMC, Montefiore said it would provide ambulatory surgery and primary care services, and a full service emergency department, “which would ensure that the medical needs of local residents can continue to be met within the community.”

The statement also said that local residents would “benefit from easy access to quality care and Montefiore’s resources as one of the nation’s leading academic health care systems.”

“A fully operational medical facility also will help support the small businesses in that community,” read the statement.

As part of state law, WSMC filed with the Department of Labor a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification – a filing that is required when mass layoffs occur – on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

The WARN filing stated that 586 employees could be laid off between March 10, 2013 and March 24, 2013. The reason for the layoffs was cited as “plant closure.”

Dr. Louis Rose, a trustee and orthopedic surgeon, said that employees at the hospital had received warning letters.

The statement from Montefiore said that “if the agreement is approved by the bankruptcy court and appropriate regulatory authorities, Montefiore will work closely with NYWSMC’s labor unions to identify qualified health care staff for transition to Montefiore.”

According to the WARN filing, the two unions involved would be 1199 SEIU and New York State Nurses Association. It is unclear how many jobs will be transferred or lost.

About half of the doctors who treat patients at WSMC already have privileges at Montefiore, the statement read.

Montefiore has facilities at its main Moses Campus and Children’s Hospital, both located in Norwood, as well at clinics and facilities throughout the borough, and is affiliated with Albert Einstein College of Medicine and runs Weiler Hospital Division there. It purchased Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center and all of its affiliates in 2008.

It also runs scores of clinics in Bronx public schools.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3393

Aerial view of Westchester Square Medical Center. Photo courtesy of WSMC.

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