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Baptist Health, Bethesda Ponder Partnership

A partnership is being considered between the region's biggest hospital system, Baptist Health South Florida, and Palm Beach County's Bethesda Health network, according to the Miami Herald and South Florida Business Journal.

An affiliation or merger would allow the non-profit health care institutions to expand their geographic reach in Palm Beach and northern Broward Counties, Baptist Health's Chief Operating Officer Wayne Bracklin said.

Also, both healthcare groups are also profitable, reports the Journal.

The Affordable Care Act, and its shift away from fee-for-service reimbursements motivated talks between the two organizations, the Herald reports. 

Baptist Health operates five hospitals in Miami-Dade County, and one in the Florida Keys. It also has announced plans for a $400 million cancer institute, the Journal said. Bethesda Health runs two hospitals and owns several outpatient offices.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.