Baptist Memorial Hospital System and St. Luke's Lutheran Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, plan to merge into an integrated system controlled by Baptist.
Although executives of the hospitals carefully avoided the words "merger" and "acquisition," they agreed that they would join into a single system and that the deal would require antitrust clearance.
Baptist is the city's largest system, with 1,300 beds. A merger of the two systems would fuse Baptist's 25.5% market share with St. Luke's 6.28% market share, according to figures from HCIA, a Baltimore-based healthcare research firm.
The partnership of the Baptist system with St. Luke's is one of several relationships being discussed in the San Antonio area (See related story, p. 66).
After a letter of intent is signed, the hospitals will have to receive approvals from the Baptist General Convention, which governs the Baptist hospital system, and the Southwestern Texas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which sponsors 251-bed St. Luke's.
The deal is expected to be completed by June.
Baptist owns four acute-care hospitals in San Antonio, but has lacked a facility in the South Texas Medical Center, where 10 hospitals are clustered.