By: Avi Strauss  | 

BREAKING: Yeshiva University and Montefiore Health System Finalize Deal Over Einstein

After arduous negotiations, Yeshiva University and the Montefiore Health System have finalized an agreement over the fate of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The deal restructures the relationship between the university and the health system, forming a new, independent entity called Einstein, which will have its own board. Montefiore will assume operational authority over, and financial responsibility for, Einstein, while Yeshiva University will remain the degree granting institution with control over academics. Dr. Allen Spiegel will remain Dean of Einstein.

The agreement eliminates an annual $100 million deficit from Yeshiva, which has been navigating treacherous financial waters for the past few years. Yeshiva has been working with Alvarez and Marsal, the turnaround management and corporate restructuring group to get its finances in order. Montefiore, which benefits from the high-level, but costly, research performed at Einstein, will now assume its operating expenses.

Although the deal has been anticipated for over a year, the agreement’s completion wasn’t always a given. Back in December, Moody’s Investor Service reported on negotiations breaking down between Montefiore and Yeshiva, only for them to be re-opened shortly thereafter. Further, in January, the Einstein faculty senate issued a vote of no confidence in President Joel, as budget woes and questions about Yeshiva’s future swirled about. Certainly, the agreement’s closure will bring relief to Yeshiva’s administration after a tumultuous year of belt-tightening, cuts and “right-sizing.”

In a press release this morning, President Richard Joel said, “This is part of a journey that began when Yeshiva University founded Einstein 60 years ago.” Adding “Yeshiva University continues its historic commitment to medical education while we further our unique mission to prepare students through a contemporary academic education enlightened by Jewish values.”

The release states that the deal will result in continued integration between Montefiore and Einstein’s faculties, students and staffs, and “will align operations to best advance science and medicine and build on traditions of service and success.”

President and CEO of Montefiore Steven M. Safyer said, “Montefiore and Einstein have become the example of what transformative care, science and education can be. This new agreement which brings us even closer will be the first step toward a more secure and sustainable future.”

Amid speculation and rumors surrounding the deal, the Yeshiva administration insists Einstein will continue to observe Jewish traditions. Perhaps most notably, Einstein will preserve its scheduling system, based around the Jewish holidays. Further, the administration maintains that Einstein and YU will still share a special relationship, and YU’s website states that “YU students will continue to benefit from access to faculty mentors at Einstein, and we expect the tradition of many YU students choosing to apply and matriculate to Einstein will go on.”

This may bring solace to the many pre-med undergraduate students intent on continuing their education at Einstein. Since its creation, spurred by discrimination against Jews in medical school acceptances, Einstein has received a disproportionate number of applicants from both Yeshiva College and Stern College. While Yeshiva will continue its academic oversight of Einstein, the way this revised relationship will play out in admissions remains to be seen. Einstein was ranked the 40th best medical school for research and 57th for primary care, in US News recently released rankings for 2016, and has always been a favored medical school for Yeshiva students.

The finalization of the deal coincided with another big development for Yeshiva University—President Joel announced he has informed the Board of Yeshiva that he will be stepping down as president of the university in 2018, at the end of his term. In an email sent to the entire YU community, President Joel explained that he “asked chairman Moshael Straus to begin the process of transition and to identify and recruit my successor. This wonderful and committed lay leadership deserves to have the time to be deliberate in that process.”

YU’s website addressed “what’s next” for the institution in terms of restructuring: “YU is focused on continual improvement—building new market-driven educational offerings that generate revenue, as well as new sources of philanthropy. We will foster our unique mission, which blends tradition with discovery, and combines serious Jewish learning with vigorous academic study across a broad range of subjects.” With what appears to be the biggest hurdle towards sustainability behind it, YU looks to seal its financial woes in history and looks forward to continuing its leadership of United States Modern Orthodoxy as its flagship educational institution.