Missouri Baptist Healthcare System of St. Louis has signed a letter of intent to merge with BJC Health System, St. Louis.
The merger, which is subject to federal antitrust review and approval by the boards of both institutions, is expected to be completed in May.
"Missouri Baptist will come in as an institutional member, an equal and integral part of (BJC)," said Fred Brown, BJC's president and chief executive officer.
With the move, Missouri Baptist has left an integrated delivery network it joined last summer that included SSM Health Care, a St. Louis-based Roman Catholic system, St. Louis University Hospital and De-Paul Health Center, St. Louis, said Bret Berigan, Missouri Baptist's public relations manager.
"Nothing much has happened with the (SSM alliance). The feeling was (that), to accomplish our goals, we needed to develop a truly integrated system," Mr. Berigan said.
The addition of Missouri Baptist will give BJC a strong presence in all areas of the St. Louis market, and that will give it greater access to clinical services and additional clout in managed-care negotiations, Mr. Brown said.
Missouri Baptist owns 494-bed Missouri Baptist Medical Center in Town & Country, a St. Louis suburb, 81-bed Missouri Baptist Hospital in Sullivan, Mo., seven MedFirst clinics in the St. Louis area and 50 other clinics at 17 rural hospitals in Missouri.