In a sale that would create a 26-hospital Roman Catholic system, Bon Secours Health System signed an agreement to negotiate to buy Franciscan Health Partnership, a nine-hospital system based in Albany, N.Y.
On Friday, the two Catholic systems signed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding to negotiate a deal. They're expected to announce the agreement publicly this week.
The two systems expect to craft a definitive agreement in the next several months, although officials declined to name a specific date.
Based in Marriottsville, Md., Bon Secours operates 17 owned or joint-venture hospitals, along with post-acute-care and other outpatient facilities.
The system, which has $1.2 billion in total revenues, has facilities in Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.
The proposed deal represents Franciscan's latest attempt to find a partner.
In January, a systemwide merger between Franciscan and Cincinnati-based Catholic Healthcare Partners was canceled. However, Franciscan did agree to merge two of its hospitals and other holdings in the area with the Cincinnati system (Feb. 1, p. 4).
Franciscan, founded in 1983, is sponsored by New York-based Franciscan Sisters of the Poor. The health system has $1.1 billion in total revenues and facilities in Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and South Carolina.
Besides its nine hospitals, Franciscan operates long-term-care facilities, home health agencies and other community service centers.