NEW ROCHELLE - There is a new lifeline for two ailing Westchester hospitals.

Officials for Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx say they expect to take over the financially troubled Sound Shore Medical Center in New Rochelle and its sister facility, Mount Vernon Hospital. The multimillion-dollar deal is expected to be complete by the end of the year and result in an almost 2,000 bed health care giant.

Montefiore says it will invest an upward of $60 million to pay for renovations, infrastructure upgrades and remodeled emergency rooms at the two facilities.

In recent years, financial troubles have forced both the New Rochelle and Mount Vernon hospitals to cut staff. But news of the deal has staffers at both hospitals looking more positively to the future. "Anything is better than nothing, I'd rather be on a ship with a life jacket than be on a ship without one," says case manager Laura Cornish.