Mercy has created a new clinic in anticipation of an agreement to integrate with Patients First Health Care.

The new clinic, which would be the seventh multispecialty clinic in Mercy’s four-state service area, would combine the existing Mercy physicians group and the Patients First physicians serving Franklin and five surrounding counties.

Mercy and Patients First have signed an exclusive, nonbinding letter of intent to explore the possibilities of integrating. As discussions continue toward a possible integration this summer, decisions about how to efficiently and effectively combine the two organizations are still being decided.

Creating the new clinic and appointing a leadership team will help that process.

“The size and scope of the area requires a dedicated organizational structure that is in tune with the needs of local communities and the medical professionals who care for our patients,” said Donn Sorensen, president of Mercy East Communities. “The new clinic will be physician-led, have its own board of directors and leadership team, and will be jointly responsible with Mercy Hospital Washington in serving the area.”

Dr. David Chalk, chairperson of Patients First and orthopedic surgeon, will serve as president of the newly formed Mercy Clinic. Serving as chief operating officer will be Kevin Goodwin. Goodwin joined Mercy in 2010 as vice president of operations for Mercy Clinic in Springfield. Dr. Chalk and Goodwin will support transitional activities and focus on the formation of the new clinic.