By Anthony Silva, WBZ NewsRadio 1030 New England Business Editor

BOSTON (CBS) – Steward Health Care System has signed a letter of intent to buy the financially struggling Mercy Health System in Portland, Maine, from a Catholic hospital group.

Chris Murphy at Steward says if it goes through, it would be a natural fit. He says Mercy is a 94-year-old hospital with two main campuses, and about 1,700 employees, almost half of them physicians. Murphy says Mercy is a good-sized community hospital, and very important to the people of Portland.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Anthony Silva reports

Murphy says Mercy and Steward share a mission of serving patients, regardless of their ability to pay. He says both hospitals believe in alternative payment models, where physicians are rewarded for keeping patients healthy and well, instead of waiting to treat them when they’re sick and possibly in need of hospitalization.

Mercy is currently part of Catholic Health East. Murphy says Mercy is seeking to leave that group and become part of Steward, because Mercy fits well with Steward’s mission and philosophy.

The deal would have to be approved by regulators in Maine, as well as authorities at the Vatican.

Philadelphia-based Catholic Health East runs a network of almost 3 dozen hospitals and other health facilities in 11 states along the east coast.


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