Chicago-based Mercy Hospital is discussing some form of a union with Novi, Mich.-based Trinity Health Corp., according to published reports.

Trinity, which operates 46 acute-care hospitals and other health care facilities in nine states, closed on its acquisition of Loyola University Health System in suburban Chicago in late June.

Trinity’s facilities generated more than $7 billion in revenues in fiscal 2010 and it carries more than $3 billion in cash and assets.  Trinity’s $2.7 billion of debt carries ratings in the mid-double-A category from all three agencies.

Mercy Hospital carries a below-investment grade rating due to its long struggles although it has seen steady improvement in finances. In 2010, the 479-bed hospital collected $248 million in operating revenue, up 40% over five years earlier. Some form of a merger could help the hospital finance more than $260 million in renovations it hopes to complete over the next two decades.

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