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SSM, University of Missouri end exclusive talks


St. Louis-based SSM Health and University of Missouri Health Care have decided to end exclusive talks about MU Health taking over SSM's operations in Mid-Missouri.

SSM announced the end of exclusive negotiations in a news release Friday. SSM and MU Health had filed a letter of intent to transfer ownership of SSM Health's local operations, including hospitals in Jefferson City and Mexico, Missouri, last year. The two organizations will allow that agreement to expire without taking effect on Jan. 7, according to the release.

Negotiations will continue with MU, but they will no longer be exclusive, SSM said.

“Although we expect to be having conversations with other organizations who we believe can benefit these communities, we continue to view MU Health Care as a valuable potential partner,” Laura S. Kaiser, president and CEO of SSM Health, said in the release. “We remain committed to exploring opportunities to work together to improve access to high-quality affordable health care services for the people we serve.”

MU Health CEO Jonathan Curtright said in the release that "valuable relationships" have been built and that MU Health is still a player in negotiations.

“While we are disappointed that our exclusive negotiations with SSM Health are ending, we value the relationships we have built and look forward to continued discussions,” Curtright said in the release.

Coalition for Choice, a group that formed in opposition to the consolidated hospital system, said it is "elated" that the negotiations ended between the two parties.

"We fought to prevent any state legislation that would allow any entities to bypass anti-monopoly laws," a spokesperson for Coalition for Choice said. "We advocated for competition, transparency and choice."

SSM, a not-for-profit Catholic health care organization, said it will broaden its search for a new "partner." The organization has not established a timeline for a decision about ownership or management changes.

MU Health had also been in exclusive negotiations with Boone Hospital Center to run the county-owned hospital in 2017, but those talks also fell apart before a deal was reached.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.


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