Regional Medical Center (RMC) in Anniston plans to become an official affiliate of the UAB Health System later this year. A letter of intent has been signed between the Health Care Authority of the City of Anniston and the UAB Board of Directors.

A partnership between the two entities began in 2011, but the official affiliation is expected to enhance health care in northeast Alabama.

“I’m thrilled about this next step to pursue an affiliation with the UAB Health System,” said Louis Bass, president and CEO of RMC. “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.”

UAB President Ray Watts said he believes the arrangement will bring two outstanding healthcare organizations together for the betterment of patients in northeast Alabama.

“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,” said Watts. “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.”

If the deal is made official, the affiliation could eventually provide a new cancer center in Calhoun County, improve RMC’s financial stability, enhance patient care, support specialty physician recruitment and more, said Dawn Bulgarella, CEO of the UAB Health System.

“A new affiliate agreement would extend the full clinical expertise and medical research capabilities of UAB to the Anniston/Oxford region and help RMC continue to deliver exceptional care to their community,” Bulgarella explained. “Additionally, there are potential advantages to be gained through combined purchasing power, governance, and economies of scale that would benefit both organizations.”

An official agreement is expected to be reached and finalized in late summer.

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