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2 Tennessee hospitals working on merger

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MANCHESTER, Tenn. (AP) — The two hospitals in Manchester that are less than three miles apart may merge.

The Tullahoma News reported (http://bit.ly/1pdnPz0 ) that United Regional Medical Center and Medical Center of Manchester have taken the first steps toward a combination of the two hospitals.

URMC will file an application for a Certificate of Need with the Tennessee Health Services Development Agency next month. The move would mean both hospitals will combine operations and move operations into the Medical Center of Manchester location on Interstate Drive.

If approved, "most medical operations" at URMC location would be discontinued.

After a Certificate of Need is filed, the Tennessee Health Services Development Agency will schedule a public hearing. If the certificate is approved, the companies would then file additional notices with various other governmental agencies, including Medicare.

"We are really working closely together with Medical Center (of Manchester) but I want to really emphasize that these are just the beginning steps," URMC chief executive officer Martha McCormick said.

In its application, URMC will seek regulatory approval to relocate to MCM's building and MCM will file a Certificate of Need to shut down its emergency room. Once combined, the facility will likely operate under a new name that has not been chosen.

United Regional's filing cites the need for the two hospitals, which are located approximately 2.4 miles apart, to combine operations to "create a stronger health care facility that can afford to invest in state-of-the-art equipment and recruit more primary care physicians to the area." The application also details a financial transaction in which the ownership groups of the two hospitals would be combined.

Medical Center of Manchester president J. Stanley Rogers and his partners built MCM approximately 30 years ago.

"Putting these two hospitals together is long overdue," said Rogers.

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Information from: The Tullahoma News, http://www.tullahomanews.com

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