Banner, University of Arizona to merge

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Board of Regents has approved the beginnings of a merger between the University of Arizona Health Network and Banner Health.

The approval on Thursday means UAHN and Banner Health can move forward with negotiations on the deal, which they hope to finalize by September.

Many of the stipulations have already been set. Banner Health will cover UAHN'S $146 million debt while investing millions in programs. The Phoenix-based, non-profit Banner will now employ the university's 6,300 hospital and medical centers employees, which could make it the largest private employer in Arizona.

The health network includes two hospitals, about 40 medical clinics and the College of Medicine. Banner says it will guarantee university health care employees will keep their jobs for six months after the transition.

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