February 3, 2012 | last updated June 1, 2012 12:21 pm

Hartford Healthcare, Backus explore partnership

Expansion-minded Hartford HealthCare announced Friday plans to affiliate with a 213-bed Norwich hospital, which would give the health care giant its first presence in southeastern Connecticut.

Hartford HealthCare said it has entered into a non-binding letter of intent to affiliate with Backus Corp., the parent of Backus Hospital, which brought in $274 million in revenues in 2010.

Both organizations will now perform due diligence and negotiate terms of a potential deal, which could take several months.

If successful, Backus would become a member of the Hartford HealthCare network, which has grown in recent years with the addition of the Hospital of Central Connecticut as well as several major physician and eye surgery groups.

The Hartford HealthCare network also includes Hartford Hospital, MidState Medical Center in Meriden, Natchaug Hospital in Mansfield, Windham Hospital and a wide spectrum of additional pre- and post-acute health services.

Aside from Backus Hospital, Backus Corp. also owns Backus Health Care, Inc., Backus Home Health Care, Backus Physician Services, Community Medical Partners, CONNCare, and WWB Corp.

The Backus board of directors has been reviewing opportunities for strategic alignment for more than a year, and initiated the process of seeking potential partners, officials said. A six-member subcommittee of the 15-member board researched several proposals in depth, and the full board voted to explore a formal integration with Hartford HealthCare.

An affiliation, officials say, would enable both organizations to share the knowledge and expertise of their staffs and physicians, and give patients easier access to a wider range of services and treatments.

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