Mercy Health System of Maine and Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems say they've signed a merger agreement, which will move forward with regulatory approval.
Under Monday's definitive agreement, the parent company of Mercy Hospital in Portland will merge with the Brewer-based health care system that includes Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Mercy would retain its Catholic identity and nonprofit status.
The merger still needs to be approved by regulators, which includes a state certificate of need, federal antitrust clearance and approval of the Vatican.
The health care groups say final regulatory approvals could take six to nine months. The combined health care company would have nearly 10,000 employees.