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Two Missouri hospitals eye merger as means to be a state-level competitor for specialized care

If the two organizations were to reach an agreement, it would not take effect until the end of 2020, local report says.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

Photo courtesy Boone

The Board of Trustees at Columbia, Missouri's Boone Hospital with University of Missouri Health Care to create a top medical complex that could keep patients in need of special services in the area, Missourinet reported.

The UM facility is one of 12 level one trauma centers in the state.

Boone's Trustee chairman Brian Neuner said the deal would make the new combined entity more able to compete with larger markets and focus on growing sub-specialties. Ultimately, patients would not have to leave the area to get treatment, Missourinet said.

Boone Hospital serves 26 counties and MU Health Care, which was formed after University of Missouri consolidated its health care units in 2008, serves 28.

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Were the two organizations to reach an agreement, it would not take effect until the end of 2020 after Boone's lease agreement with St. Louis-based BJC HealthCare. However the they will have to come to a decision by the end of 2018, the report said.

A University of Missouri Health Care spokesperson said the leadership of the academic health center is interested in exploring a collaboration, saying their goal would be to "advance the health of our community and the patients we serve," the report said.

Boone is considering other partnership with area providers as well or making the hospital a separate operation run by a nonprofit.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn