The move to integrate Mercy and Patients First into a single health care provider for this area is advancing.
Both parties have signed a nonbinding letter of intent to explore the possibility of fully integrating physicians, services and physical assets.
The announcement by the two health care providers was made Tuesday afternoon. Mercy and Patients First said this is an important step because it means that the two parties “are in exclusive negotiations” to integrate the two organizations.
The letter of intent was approved “overwhelmingly” by Patients First partners Monday night.
“This agreement is the start of something truly great for patients across the entire region served by Mercy and Patients First,” said Donn Sorensen, regional president for Mercy’s east Missouri region. “The dialogue between our two organizations has been productive, and we are optimistic about a shared future.”
“Patients First has invested time and talent to develop a system of care that promotes quality and value for our patients with chronic and acute conditions,” said David E. Chalk, MD, chairman of Patients First.
“Mercy recognizes that value. The letter of intent signed by both organizations affirms our joint commitment to a new day and better way of delivering care for the patients of our communities,” Dr. Chalk said. “The partners of Patients First have overwhelmingly agreed to continue exclusive negotiations with Mercy and the legal due diligence required to fully integrate our organizations.”
“We’re especially excited about what it means for the future of patients in the Washington area by bringing their two hometown health care providers together,” said Terri L. McLain, president of Mercy Hospital Washington. “The community has been asking for this for a long time, and we are delighted to be taking this next step forward.”
Earlier this month, in a separate legal agreement, Mercy and Patients First consolidated cancer services in the Washington area under Mercy Cancer Center. Medical oncology services will move to the Patients First building early this summer after renovations are made.
During the construction phase, patients are receiving services at the Mercy Medical Building on the campus of Mercy Hospital Washington.
Mercy is the eighth largest Catholic health care system in the United States and serves more than 3 million people annually.
Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,600 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
Patients First Health Care, based in Washington, serves patients throughout East Central Missouri. Its services include primary care and 17 specialties in 20 patient centers across six counties.
Established in 1998, Patients First Health Care has five treatment centers, urgent care and outpatient surgery.