Milford Hospital and Yale New Haven Health boards of trustees have voted to explore an integration of Milford Hospital with Bridgeport Hospital, a member of Yale New Haven Health.

“Our goal is to not only ensure the long-term viability of Milford Hospital, but to develop an approach that would sustain high quality care in our community,” said Milford Hospital Board Chair Samuel Bergami, Jr., in a prepared statement to the press. “This provides us with an exceptional opportunity to explore joining a growing organization like Bridgeport Hospital and to become part of one of the nation’s leading health systems. We firmly believe this is in the best interests of the patients, employees and the community that we serve.”

In 2014, facing significant financial headwinds, Milford Hospital developed a collaborative relationship with both Yale New Haven Hospital and Bridgeport Hospital to house their respective Inpatient Rehabilitation Units (IRU).

Hospital officials said the approach generated strong demand for those specific services, as well as high quality and patient satisfaction rates. However, the need for a broader relationship has become apparent as financial performance continued to be challenged by low reimbursement rates from the government.

“We deeply respect the board, leadership and employees of Milford Hospital and look forward to the opportunity to develop an extraordinary partnership,” said Bridgeport Hospital President and CEO William M. Jennings. “We have clearly demonstrated that we can ensure access to high quality acute care for patients in Milford and surrounding communities through our IRU, and by working together, we are confident that we can deliver a bright future for Milford Hospital in the years ahead, even as the current healthcare environment challenges all providers.”

Under the agreement, which will require state and federal regulatory approvals, as well as full board approvals, Milford Hospital would be acquired by Bridgeport Hospital. Current Milford Hospital employees, including those represented by organized labor, would become employees of Bridgeport Hospital. Bridgeport Hospital has agreed to recognize all existing labor relationships, officials said in their press release.

“I am grateful to the Milford Hospital Board of Directors and management for their leadership and their commitment to the patients and community they serve,” said Richard D’Aquila, president of Yale New Haven Health. “We will be proud to welcome Milford Hospital to our Health System and we look forward to a long and successful future together.”

Milford Hospital is a non-profit community hospital serving more than 50,000 patients from Greater New Haven and Fairfield County annually. Bridgeport Hospital, part of Yale New Haven Health, is a 383-bed acute care hospital (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital) serving parts of Fairfield and New Haven counties. The hospital admits more than 20,000 patients and receives nearly 300,000 outpatient treatments annually.