Pushing forward with its plans to expand out of state, Steward Health Care System LLC, which has amassed a chain of 10 community hospitals in Massachusetts, has signed a letter of intent to buy Mercy Health System of Maine from a Catholic hospital group. The letter, which does not spell out financial terms, gives Boston-based Steward exclusive rights to negotiate with Mercy’s owner, Catholic Hospital East, a Pennsylvania-based network of 35 hospitals and other health facilities operating in 11 states from Maine to Florida.
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