Directors of both hospital systems have voted unanimously to enter into a letter of intent and exclusive discussions, which could lead to a merger, according to a joint announcement issued today by Clarian and Cardinal.
Clarian made the first overture, Clarian CEO Dan Evans said in a statement. And significant details already have been hammered out.
All Cardinal assets, including Ball Memorial Hospital and Blackford Community Hospital, would be merged with those of Clarian, and be operated by Clarian.
In return, Clarian would add $25 million to BMH Foundation, Ball Memorial's foundation, bringing the foundation to about $75 million in assets.
Cardinal employees would continue in their positions and at current compensation levels, and medical staffers would retain their privileges at Ball Memorial and Blackford Community hospitals.
Cardinal "will have the opportunity for a closer working relationship with Indiana University School of Medicine as well as the opportunity to collaborate with other potential partners of the growing Clarian statewide system, including Bloomington Hospital," Evans said in a statement.
In June, the governing body of Bloomington Hospital approved a merger with Clarian.
In November, Clarian backed away from building its own medical center near Muncie in part because it couldn't sign enough doctors, Delaware County officials said.
Clarian never acknowledged or denied plans for the project. However, Delaware County officials said the project was to cost $75 million and employ 180 people.
Ball Memorial Hospital President Brent Batman said in a statement, "Consolidation of the two organizations will bring significant financial benefits through the economies of scale brought about by shared purchasing contracts, seamless information systems, and coordinated physician recruitment."