US-based healthcare services provider Baptist Health has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Deaconess Health System to form a joint venture to operate Madisonville hospital and medical group.

As per the deal, which is expected to be finalised by summer of this year, the two organisations will combine their resources and expertise to bolster the medical services offered at the hospital.

Baptist Health stated that all current Madisonville hospital employees will continue to work with the new JV, with the same rates of pay, seniority and with similar benefit plans.

The two organisations, through the JV, will jointly operate the hospital, medical group and associated outpatient facilities.

An initial capital investment of more than $50m will be injected for surgical suite enhancements, emergency room renovations and cancer care facility upgrades.

Baptist Health CEO Gerard Colman said: “Rural hospitals today are struggling, facing huge challenges to provide the healthcare needed to best serve their communities.

“With Baptist Health partnering with Deaconess, the Madisonville community will have an exceptional level of support from Kentucky’s largest healthcare system and from the leading healthcare provider in the Tri-State region, to ensure continued local direction and additional investment in healthcare services.”

Baptist said that the teams from both the organisations will proceed through a due diligence period in the coming months.

This will allow Baptist Health and Deaconess to evaluate the potential joint venture and finalise details of the agreement.