CHICAGO - St. Louis-based SSM Health Care announced this week it may have found a buyer for a financially struggling 410-bed Chicago-area hospital that was slated to close as soon as this month.

SSM sent a memo to the 2,000 employees of Blue Island, Ill.-based St. Francis Hospital and its related hospice facility announcing a "tentative agreement" with a for-profit investment group, MSMC Investors LLC, as well as an affiliated group, Transition Healthcare. Transition Healthcare, a startup company specializing in financially troubled hospitals, was involved in a previous failed attempt to buy St. Francis last October.

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