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The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences released this morning a Letter of Intent to be signed by UAMS and St. Vincent Health System to affiliate “to better serve the health care needs of the State of Arkansas.”

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The letter says UAMS and St. Vincent would form a “jointly owned and governed network,” with sharing of “infrastructure services,” “clinical support services,” jointly operate “important and costly clinical service” and a “clinically-integrated network” that would include joint contracts with doctors. There may be joint services at St. Vincent West “and possibly other locations.”

The affiliation would apparently combine adminstrative functions, according to a consulting contract with Deloitte drafted Aug. 28.

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The governor’s office has the plan under review and would have to sign off on any merger of the state-owned hospital and the Catholic Health Initiatives-owned St. Vincent.

This will be updated as the Times gets more information.

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UPDATE:

Chancellor Dan Rahn said in a brief interview just concluded that UAMS is “just at the very beginning of this process,” and he declined to be specific about the benefits of the affiliation or exactly what form it might take. The Legislative Council will have to approve the contract with Deloitte. UAMS has informed the attorney general’s office of its negotiations with St. Vincent as well as the governor’s office, and depending on the form the affiliation takes, Rahn said, the legislature could be involved at some point.