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MU Health Care CEO: SSM deal will be ‘fair for everybody involved’

The CEO of MU Health Care said any deal between the company and SSM Health regarding its two mid-Missouri hospitals will be fair for all involved.

CEO Jonathan Curtright said he and a team from MU Health would begin reviewing the pros and cons of buying two hospitals from the St. Louis-based provider: SSM St. Mary’s in Jefferson City and SSM St. Mary’s in Mexico. The “diligence process” would start sometime this week or next, Curtright said, but he did not give a time frame for when a decision could be made.

Officials with both companies announced the plan in a news release Thursday morning, a day after ABC 17 News first reported on the deal. MU Health Care officials signed a letter of intent to buy the two hospitals from SSM Health, while SSM Health will negotiate a sale of its Maryville, Missouri, facility to Mosaic Life Care of St. Joseph, Missouri.

Curtright said the facilities give the company a greater presence in mid-Missouri. MU Health Care would operate Jefferson City’s two major hospitals, if the deal is approved. Curtright said Jefferson City is “part of the family,” and the deal allows MU Health to give greater care to people in the capital city. The Mexico hospital would help MU Health Care “expand access” for primary care services in Audrain County, he said.

Curtright said he still planned on investing in the facilities MU Health Care currently runs in Boone County.

“Whether we do this particular effort in Mexico and Jefferson City or not, we will be making major investments right here in Columbia,” Curtright said.

Both hospitals have struggled financially, according to recent Medicare filings. The report shows St. Mary’s in Jefferson City operated at a $19 million loss, while the Mexico hospital posted a $6 million loss.

Curtright said MU Health’s process will involve reviewing financial information.

“We will be looking to make sure that we come up with a sustainable model for both Jefferson City and Columbia, and in Mexico,” Curtright said.

MU Health has also sought a partnership with Boone Hospital Center in Columbia, but negotiations fell apart in January. The trustees that oversee Boone are deciding on a new lease to run the hospital after the current lease with BJC HealthCare runs out in 2020.

ABC 17 News Team

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