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Baptist hospitals merger explored

Leaders of two Baptist hospital systems say they’re exploring a merger.

Officials with Jackson-based Mississippi Baptist Health Systems and the larger Baptist Memorial Health Care of Memphis  made the announcement Thursday.

They say a merger could create one of the largest Baptist health systems nationwide, and extend an electronic health record system from the Memphis system to four Mississippi hospitals.

The Memphis system already has five hospitals in northern Mississippi, making it one of the largest hospital groups in the state, and plans to take over a hospital in Calhoun City in October. It also counts 10 hospitals in western Tennessee and one in Arkansas, with a second one planned for West Memphis, Arkansas.

The Mississippi system has hospitals in Jackson, Carthage, Kosciusko and Yazoo City.

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