South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside has agreed to enter...

South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside has agreed to enter talks with the Mount Sinai Health System with the aim of possible affiliation, hospital CEO Richard J. Murphy said on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. The hospital is pictured in 2016. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

South Nassau Communities Hospital has agreed to enter talks with the Mount Sinai Health System with the aim of possible affiliation, the Oceanside health care giant announced late Tuesday.

The negotiations will consume the next several months, executives for both institutions said, as they explore a formal agreement that ultimately could align medical services, management and governance of the two institutions.

“This is the correct move at the right time,” said Richard J. Murphy, South Nassau’s president and CEO.

He said his institution’s board of directors chose Mount Sinai after searching extensively for a potential partner.

So far, the two institutions have signed a nonbinding letter of intent, which allows South Nassau and Mount Sinai to embark upon a period of in-depth talks. A final deal would have to be approved by the boards of both institutions as well as the state Department of Health, which licenses the two hospitals.

“We are absolutely excited about going forward with this mission,” said Joseph Fennessy, chairman of South Nassau’s board of directors.

If a final agreement is reached and approved, South Nassau, a 455-bed hospital that has served Long Island’s South Shore since 1928, would become the flagship medical-care institution of Mount Sinai on Long Island, Murphy said.

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The Mount Sinai system is an $8 billion health care provider that includes the Icahn School of Medicine, seven hospitals in the metropolitan area, and a network of more than 7,000 physicians.

In a statement Tuesday, Dr. Kenneth L. Davis, Mount Sinai’s president and CEO, said his institution looks forward to working on a final agreement.

“Our goal is that patients and families of Long Island have access to our high quality care and cutting edge treatments,” Davis said.

Driving the affiliation are the changing dynamics of health care, said Fennessy, who underscored that “we are in a changing health care world with more and more competition in the marketplace.”

No decisions have yet been made about how Mount Sinai’s name would be incorporated into South Nassau’s, a subject to be discussed as talks continue, executives for both institutions said.

“The period of negotiation will take 90 to 120 days to come to a mutual agreement,” Murphy said. “We have begun to define a set of terms as we go forward with the discussions.

He said a deal with the Mount Sinai system not only would increase treatment protocols for patients, but it also would bring to the South Shore the teaching prowess of the Icahn school.

Expanded residency programs would be available for new medical school graduates who enroll in residency rotations at South Nassau, Murphy said. A program in internal medicine would be among a number of medical subspecialties offered to new physicians, he said.

South Nassau currently offers residency programs in family medicine, general surgery, and obstetrics and gynecology.

Talks aimed at affiliating a Manhattan health care provider and a Long Island hospital are not new to the region. In September, Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola completed its affiliation with NYU Langone Medical Center.

In August, the Mount Sinai system signed an agreement with Stony Brook University to collaborate on research, medical education and clinical trials.

The Northwell Health system is the largest in the region with 21 hospitals, including affiliations with Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow and Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.

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