Med Looking for Financial Partner, Considering Merger

MEMPHIS, TN - The board of Memphis' public hospital has hired a consultant to find a financial partner and the possibility of a merger.

At a meeting of the Regional Medical Center board held Wednesday, chairman Gene Holcomb says Shelby County Mayor A.C. Wharton wants negotiations to be underway within six weeks on specific proposals.

County government has budgeted more than $27 million this year to help "The Med" cover the cost of treating uninsured patients.

However, Holcomb assured the board the hospital isn't on the brink of drastically cutting medical services.

The chairman says he met with Governor Bredesen, who supports the concept.

The Med's Elvis Presley Trauma Center serves patients from west Tennessee, eastern Arkansas, northwest Mississippi and southeast Missouri.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)