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Updated Jun 26, 2014 - 4:23 pm

Banner Health, University of Arizona Health Network to merge

PHOENIX — The Arizona Board of Regents has confirmed 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 previous 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, nonprofit 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 said it will guarantee university health care employees will keep their jobs for six months after the transition.

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