The proposed mergerlike 18-hospital partnership of Dallas-based Baylor Health Care System and Texas Health Resources in Irving is still a go, despite a protracted antitrust review by the state attorney general and Texas Health's failure to sell its money-losing HMO.
The systems agreed in January to form an umbrella company called Southwest Health System. That agreement was due to expire Oct. 27, but merger discussions were kept alive with a vote by the board of five-hospital Baylor last week to extend the letter of intent.
The systems now have until March 19, 2000, to complete the deal.
The board of 13-hospital Texas Health approved a similar extension in early October. System spokesman Tom Peck said the merger process is "real complex, and it has taken longer than expected. The longer-than-anticipated discussion with the attorney general is a factor."
The attorney general must approve the partnership, which would give Southwest Health a 40% share of the acute-care, nongovernmental beds in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Texas Health also continues to negotiate the sale of its 314,000-enrollee Harris Methodist Health Plan to PacifiCare of Texas. The plan lost $17 million on revenues of $169.2 million in the second quarter ended June 30 (Sept. 6, p. 12).