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Winchester Hospital, Lahey sign formal deal

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The parent of 229-bed Winchester Hospital said Friday it has struck a formal affiliation agreement to become part of Lahey Health, which operates Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, Beverly Hospital, and Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester.

Lahey Health and Winchester Healthcare Management signed a letter of intent in June to affiliate. The formal agreement disclosed Friday is subject to state and federal regulatory approval. The parties said Winchester Hospital patients would maintain access to their hospital-affiliated doctors but be referred to Lahey specialists for more complex clinical procedures.

The acquisition is part of the continuing consolidation in the Massachusetts hospital sector. Lahey executives have also been talking to their counterparts at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and Newton-based physicians group alliance Atrius Health about a potential three-way merger.

Robert Weisman can be reached at robert.weisman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.
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