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Maryland hospitals end merger talks

Baltimore-based LifeBridge Health and Elkton, Md.-based Union Hospital of Cecil County have ended merger negotiations, according to the Cecil Whig.

In January, LifeBridge and Union Hospital signed a letter of intent to merge. They were expected to enter a definitive agreement by July, but that date was pushed back to Oct. 10 and then Dec. 31. Union Hospital CEO Richard Szumel, MD, told the Cecil Whig it was clear by November that the merger proposal would not move forward.

Uncertainty about Union Hospital's future revenue under Maryland's hospital reimbursement system was the primary reason merger talks ended, according to Dr. Szumel. The Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission is reviewing whether to reduce the hospital's reimbursement rate.

Dr. Szumel said the community should not expect merger talks to resume with LifeBridge, even if Union Hospital leaders get a favorable outcome in the HSCRC review.

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