The board of directors at the Scott Memorial Hospital in Scottsburg, Indiana, US, has signed a letter of intent to lease the hospital to a joint venture.

Under the agreement, the Regional Health Network of Kentucky and Southern Indiana, a joint venture formed by Norton Healthcare and LifePoint Hospitals, will operate the hospital.

Scott Memorial CEO Clifford Nay said the hospital’s board has been exploring potential partnerships for the hospital for several months.

"With their shared commitment to quality health care, employees, medical staff and communities, Norton Healthcare and LifePoint Hospitals stood out as the ideal partners to provide us the resources and expertise we need to secure our hospital for the future," Nay added.

LifePoint will act as the managing partner while Norton Healthcare will be the clinical partner under the proposed lease.

Norton Healthcare president and CEO Steve Williams said community hospitals are facing "extraordinary challenges" in today’s uncertain health care environment.

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"By combining the expertise and services available through Norton Healthcare with LifePoint’s resources and capabilities in operating community hospitals, we’re creating a unique opportunity for community hospitals to prepare themselves for the future and advance health care in their communities," Williams added.

The affiliation of Scott Memorial Hospital with the JV company is subject to the Scott County Commissioners and County Council’s final approval.