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MU Health Care continues SSM acquisition talks with care

Negotiation taking 'longer than expected,' MU says

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A deal between MU Healh Care and SSM Health is slowly developing, according to leaders who say they're not rushing the talks.

The potential deal would see the university take control of the St. Mary's hospitals in Jefferson City and Mexico.

Johnathan Curtright, CEO of MU Health, described the status of the deal in a message to employees on Feb 8. 

"The scale of this transaction is large, and while both parties remain committed to this process, the complex work is taking longer than expected," Curtright said. "While we are continuing our broader negotiations with SSM Health, we are also discussing near-term opportunities to improve health care in Jefferson City and Mexico."

Curtright's full message can be read at the bottom of this article.

SSM Health's new regional director in charge of the Jefferson City and Mexico hospital properties also released a statement on the ongoing descussions.

"Talks continue between SSM Health and MU Health Care, as we are still in the diligence phase," Baumgartner said in a written statement. "At the same time, we are also discussing near-term opportunities to partner with MU Health Care to best serve the people of Jefferson City, Mexico and surrounding communities both today and in the future."

Baumgartner's statement also said that no further details will be released, saying, "We will provide more information as we are able." 

Opponents of the merger have formed a not-for-profit organization to fight it, and many of them are calling on state lawamakers to step in.

ABC 17 News will continue to follow the status of these negotiations. 

MU Health Care CEO Johnathan Curtright's full statement to employees: 

"As you know, we have been in negotiations with SSM Health for the potential transfer of ownership of St. Mary’s Hospital-Jefferson City and St. Mary’s Hospital-Audrain. Both MU Health Care and SSM Health are committed to working together and believe we have the opportunity to enhance efficiencies to better integrate the care provided in the communities we serve. 

MU Health Care and SSM Health remain in diligence and recognize the importance of thoughtfully taking our time to do what is in the best interest of the Jefferson City and Mexico communities, the employees of St. Mary’s Hospital-Jefferson City and St. Mary’s Hospital-Audrain, and the employees of Capital Region Medical Center and the University of Missouri.

The scale of this transaction is large, and while both parties remain committed to this process, the complex work is taking longer than expected.  While we are continuing our broader negotiations with SSM Health, we are also discussing near-term opportunities to improve health care in Jefferson City and Mexico.

MU Health Care and Capital Region Medical Center, in collaboration with SSM Health St. Mary’s -- Jefferson City, are committed to expand procedural support and management for electrophysiology services. With the addition of Hemant Godara, MD, and Richard Weachter, MD, who both have advanced fellowship training in heart rhythm management, more patients will have access to advanced cardiac arrhythmia services in Jefferson City. 

MU Health Care is working with SSM Health St. Mary’s - Audrain to expand access to orthopaedic care. Fellowship-trained sports medicine specialist Nathan Skelley, MD, will provide clinical coverage and perform orthopaedic surgery one day per week at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital - Audrain.  

MU Health Care and SSM Health have come together to find the best way to move our relationship forward. These are just the first steps in our commitment to explore all options for collaboration to ensure our patients have continued access to convenient, affordable and compassionate health care services.

MU Health Care and SSM Health will continue to work closely with key stakeholders in Audrain, Boone and Cole Counties. We value the voices of support for the mission we share to serve our patients, employees and communities. We will keep you updated as we have more information and guidance to share. You can find more information on our website at http://muhealth.org/ssm.

Thank you for your ongoing support and dedication.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Curtright
Chief Executive Officer
MU Health Care

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