ANNISTON, Ala. (WIAT) — The Health Care Authority of the City of Anniston announced Wednesday it has signed a non-binding letter of intent to become an affiliate of the UAB Health System.

According to a release, the RMC Board of Directors and Leadership Team decided a meaningful partnership was required to succeed in delivering the best healthcare to its surrounding communities. RMC stated it entered the process thoughtfully and from a stable position which allowed it to explore options from a some of the most respected healthcare organizations in the country.

“I’m thrilled about this next step to pursue an affiliation with the UAB Health System,” RMC President and CEO Louis Bass said in a release. “We know the UAB Health System supports our core beliefs and the way we care for people, and that UAB Health’s priorities for excellent patient care align with our own. Together, we are committed to delivering quality local healthcare to our community.”

Through the potential affiliation, RMC wrote that the organizations would explore a joint venture for a new cancer center in Calhoun County. RMC mentioned it would collaborate with the UAB Health System to enhance patient care and quality practices, plus improve RMC’s financial sustainably. The partnership would also support specialty physician recruitment efforts.

RMC and the UAB Health System have had a relationship since 2011. In that time, the healthcare providers have collaborated in areas like cancer care, radiation oncology and pathology service, patient experience and engagement and antimicrobial stewardship.

“This arrangement would bring two outstanding health care organizations together,” UAB President Ray Watts said in the release. “RMC is the flagship hospital for Northeast Alabama, and this linkage would combine the strengths of the UAB Health System with the outstanding care that RMC has provided their patients for years. We look forward to working with RMC to explore how this closer relationship could boost and enhance health care delivery for the residents of Calhoun County and all of Northeast Alabama.” 

The agreement is pending further approvals, and the organizations expect to finalize an agreement in the summer. RMC operates the Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center in Anniston, which holds 338 inpatient beds. The healthcare provider also holds practices in Jacksonville, Oxford and Roanoke.