The news that integration talks between Mercy and Patients First are continuing is good news. The two organizations have signed an agreement for exclusive negotiations to integrate the two health care organizations. They have been competitors for some patient services since Patients First began operations in 1998. Mercy has owned and operated the Washington area hospital since 1976.

If the integration comes about, the winners are the patients. Combined, the two organizations would give this area an even stronger health care presence and would provide a powerful medical force.

Mercy still plans to build a new hospital in Washington. The location search has been slowed due to the negotiations with Patients First.

The Mercy Cancer Center will be located in the Patients First building. Mercy has acquired the Patients First Cancer Center. While renovations are being made in the new center, patients are being cared for at Mercy.

The cooperation in the ongoing negotiations is what the community has been seeking. At community roundtable discussions, people urged cooperation in health care services.

The cooperation in the discussions has been positive and highly professional, The Missourian has been told. It is our hope that the integration will take place.