Louisville, Ky.-based Baptist Health announced Monday that it signed a letter of intent to acquire Hardin Memorial Health, an integrated system with a 300-bed hospital based in Elizabethtown, Ky.
The acquisition would add to Baptist Health's growing footprint. The system currently operates eight hospitals, most of which are in Kentucky. Last year, the system acquired Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services in New Albany, Ind.
Mergers and acquisitions in 2017 have been strong as healthcare organizations look to such deals to stay competitive and strengthen their markets.
The terms of the letter were not disclosed. The current due diligence and negotiation process is expected to take several months, according to a news release issued by both organizations.
Baptist Health has managed day-to-day operations at Hardin Memorial since 1997. Baptist Health plans to expand Hardin Memorial's services and grow its market share, said Allen Rudd, chairman of the Baptist Health board of directors, in a statement.
Along with its hospital, Hardin Memorial operates more than 45 outpatient facilities including a cancer center and an outpatient surgical center. The system serves about 400,000 residents in 10 central Kentucky counties and employs 2,389.
Harry Berry, chairman of the Hardin Memorial board of trustees, said in a statement Hardin Memorial will operate financially stronger with the support of a larger healthcare system like Baptist.
"The challenge for independent, county-owned hospitals like HMH, faced with a demanding and uncertain environment of increased costs and declining reimbursements, is to continue to ensure that clinical expertise and capital investment keeps pace with citizen demands for the highest level of local healthcare," Berry said.