Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a nonprofit health system with headquarters in Colorado, and the Texas Heart Institute (THI) have signed a letter of intent for exclusive negotiations toward a new partnership, financed by $220m over the next ten years for research and education in cardiovascular diseases.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Episcopal Diocese, which transferred ownership of St. Luke’s Health System to CHI in May 2013, will contribute $50m and CHI will contribute more than $170m in total over the next ten years.

The final terms of the agreement are yet to be negotiated, but both THI and CHI officials expect to sign a deal by 1 December 2013.

THI president and medical director Dr James T Willerson said that the partnership promises to provide huge benefits for both THI and CHI as the organisations work to advance patient care and prevent the ravages of cardiovascular disease.

"The potential support for research and new discoveries that help women, children, and men with cardiovascular disease worldwide is especially important," Dr Willerson added.

As a result of this letter of intent, THI is withdrawing its lawsuit against St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System, which was filed in May 2013.

"A partnership with THI will play a vital role in our effort to achieve health care’s triple aim of improving the patient experience, improving the health of the populations we serve and reducing health care costs."

The partnership agreement will be subject to the approval of CHI’s Board of Stewardship Trustees and THI’s Board of Trustees and other applicable government regulatory approvals.

CHI president and CEO Kevin Lofton said that THI and CHI share a vision to create and nurture the health of the patients and communities they serve.

"A partnership with THI will play a vital role in our effort to achieve health care’s triple aim of improving the patient experience, improving the health of the populations we serve and reducing health care costs," Lofton added.

Catholic Health Initiatives operates in 18 states and is comprised of 87 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted- and residential-living facilities; two academic medical centres; two community health-services organisations; two accredited nursing colleges; and home health agencies.