Huntsville (Ala.) Hospital and Athens (Ala.)-Limestone Hospital have signed a letter of intent to merge. Officials said they expect to spend about six months in due diligence before completing the deal. Both 711-bed Huntsville Hospital and 101-bed Athens-Limestone are not-for-profit, community-owned facilities. As part of the deal, Athens-Limestone withdrew its opposition to Huntsville Hospitals certificate-of-need application to build a 60-bed hospital in Madison, Ala. A hearing on the application is scheduled for Jan. 16. A rival Huntsville hospital, 120-bed Crestwood Medical Center, owned by Triad Hospitals., also is seeking CON approval to build a new hospital in the area and opposes Huntsville Hospitals plan. -- by Michael Romano
Editor's note: This item was corrected from the transmitted version Jan. 2, 5:30 p.m. EST.