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UMass Memorial, Milford Regional explore merger

Milford (Mass.) Regional Medical Center is exploring a "potential corporate affiliation" with Worcester-based UMass Memorial Health, the largest nonprofit healthcare system in Central Massachusetts, the two entities said Sept. 27.

The two systems, which have collaborated since 1991 when Milford Regional became the first hospital to clinically affiliate with UMass Memorial, signed a nonbinding letter of intent to merge against a background of decreasing viability for Milford Regional to maintain its independent status, according to a news release.

"Building on the foundation of our outstanding team, high-quality care, mature physician network and our supportive community, a future corporate affiliation with UMass Memorial Health would make it possible for us to move forward with necessary and strategic expansion, among other mutually beneficial opportunities, to continue to meet the growing needs of our community, locally," Edward Kelly, president and CEO of Milford Regional, said in the release.

Key goals from any potential deal will include maintaining Milford Regional as the provider of choice in the community, better prospects for employees and providers at the smaller system and possible capital investments, the two sides said.

Milford Regional is a 148-bed teaching hospital with more than 300 primary care and specialty physicians. UMass Memorial operates four hospitals and employs almost 16,000 people.

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