Shands HealthCare in Gainesville, Fla., and Methodist Medical Center and University Medical Center, both in Jacksonville, Fla., signed a letter of intent and a confidentiality agreement late last month to begin three-way negotiations for a new regional healthcare system in northeast Florida.
The signing came one week after 518-bed UMC and Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. formally canceled their joint venture agreement (Dec. 15, 1997, p. 8). That deal had been on the rocks since June, when Columbia waived its right to ban UMC from talking to other suitors. UMC immediately began discussions with eight-hospital Shands.
Shands also has been negotiating a purchase of 185-bed Methodist since early last year.