Beth Israel Deaconess plans to take over Jordan Hospital in Plymouth

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is set to disclose Thursday that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire Jordan Health Systems Inc., the parent of 155-bed Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, one of the last remaining independent community hospitals in Massachusetts.

The parties hope to sign a definitive merger agreement later this year after they have completed a due diligence process. Jordan plans to retain its local management and board as well as its nonprofit status. But it remains unclear whether the Plymouth hospital will take the name of Beth Israel Deaconess, the Harvard-affiliated Boston teaching hospital, in the manner of its community hospital affiliates in Milton and Needham, both acquired in recent years.

If the deal goes through, it would further fill out the Beth Israel Deaconess network, which now includes its own physicians group as well as Atrius Health, a Newton-based chain of doctors groups including Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates. Beth Israel Deaconess also has a clinical affiliation with Hebrew SeniorLife and is negotiating affiliations with Cambridge Health Alliance and Signature Healthcare in Brockton, which operates the 253-bed Brockton Hospital.

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The alliance is a blow to Tufts Medical Center, another Boston teaching hospital that has a clinical affiliation with Jordan and had made its own offer to acquire the Plymouth hospital in partnership with for-profit Vanguard Health Systems. Jordan officials had also talked with other potential buyers, including for-profit Steward Health Care System.

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