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    South Shore Hospital to join Partners system

    South Shore Hospital in Weymouth has agreed to become a member of the Partners HealthCare medical system in a deal that falls short of an outright merger, according to a memoradum of understanding released Thursday by the hospital, Partners HealthCare, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

    Under the agreement, South Shore Hospital would become part of Partners, but keep its name and remain an independently licensed, not-for-profit health care provider. The hospital would maintain its own board of directors, medical staff, community connections, and fund-raising activities.

    South Shore Hospital, with 318 beds, serves a swath of Southeastern Massachusetts stretching from Quincy to Taunton to Cape Cod.

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    The deal still must go through state and federal regulatory review, a process that is expected to take several months.

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    The agreement builds upon the longstanding relationship between South Shore Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a founding member of Partners, in which the Boston hospital offers surgical, cardiovascular, cancer, and women’s health services to South Shore patients.

    Until now, Partners — the largest hospital and physicians organization in Massachusetts — has largely remained on the sidelines during a wave of consolidation that has swept through the state’s health care industry over the past two years.

    In addition to Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals in Boston, Partners owns Faulkner Hospital in Boston, McLean Hospital in Belmont, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, and North Shore Medical Center in Salem.

    In a statement, Gary L. Gottlieb, the chief executive of Partners HealthCare, said, “This agreement will ensure that Partners HealthCare and South Shore Hospital are able to offer our patients seamless, highly coordinated care in their community.”

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    South Shore Hospital chief executive Richard Aubut said both organizations are focused on “improving how health care is delivered.”

    D.C. Denison can be reached at denison@globe.com.