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Via Christi Health in Wichita has signed a memorandum of understanding that would merge the local organization to the largest Catholic health system in the United States.
The memorandum means Via Christi becomes a part of St. Louis-based Ascension Health Alliance. Ascension already has a 50 percent sponsorship of Via Christi though its relationship with the Congregation of St. Joseph, one of the Wichita organization's founding orders of sisters.
Via Christi's other founding order, the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, have operated three regional health systems through the Marian health System. Those systems are Via Christi, Ministry Health Care in Milwaukee and St. John health System in Tulsa.
Terms of the memorandum of understanding have not been released. Officials plan to finalize an agreement by the end of the first financial quarter of 2013.