KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Baptist Health System says it is ending a proposed partnership with Texas-based Triad Hospitals.
The decision, announced Monday night, comes after Triad refused to set a closing date for the joint venture deal.
The deal would have made Baptist the only local for-profit hospital system.
In a statement released to the media Tuesday, Baptist addressed all employees, volunteers, medical staff and board members explaining the decision. It's printed here in its entirety.
"As we shared with you in October, and as has been recently reported in the newspaper, Triad Hospitals, Inc. requested a postponement of the closing of the joint venture arrangement with Baptist until sometime in the first quarter of next year.
We had originally agreed upon a closing date of November 1. Triad officials felt they needed more time to complete successful physician ownership syndication prior to closing.
This syndication process is complex and time consuming. The Baptist Health System Board of Trustees has decided this postponement is not in the best interest of Baptist, its physicians and employees, and has authorized the termination of the letter of intent with Triad.
This was a mutual decision between Baptist and Triad. There are other excellent organizations that have expressed great interest in partnering with Baptist and talks with those groups are already underway.
The Board has reinstated a small group of original task force members, which includes physicians and trustees, to follow-up with potential partners.
This group will begin meeting immediately and we anticipate being in negotiations with another partner very quickly.
That these organizations remain interested in our system is a signal of our strength and reputation.
While we regret this change in plans, we want what is best for Baptist Health System, physicians, employees and the community.
We feel strongly some of the other offers we received will be as good or better and have a greater potential to close in a timely manner.
All the proposals considered provide for continued operation of our facilities and employment of all employees. Everyone understands we have financial issues however, Baptist has sufficient funds to handle all current obligations, including payroll.
Our intent for this entire process of finding a partner is to give us the capital we need to enhance and expand our facilities.
In the interim, we need to continue to focus on the care we deliver for our patients and their families. Obviously, our situation is of interest to the news media so you can anticipate there will be an article in the newspaper tomorrow and on the web site sometime today.
Thank you for your prayers and patience. We know this is a difficult time, but we will reach a solution which will make Baptist stronger than ever."
Baptist confirmed that offers from Covenant Health, St. Mary's Heath System and the University Health System are on the table.
A task force meets Tuesday to start work on a new partnership.