Centura Health has signed a letter of intent to explore a partnership with Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

The collaboration will begin at St. Francis Medical Center in Colorado Springs, at the corner of Woodmen Road and Powers Boulevard. it will eventually cover all 13 Centura hospitals.

The agreement is merely to explore options for  integration, said Chris Valentine, spokesman for Penrose-St. Francis Health Services.

“We’re not sure yet what form that will take,” he said. “If it means clinics, more specialists – we’re not sure. We’ll be working all that out in the coming months.”

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children is a system of pediatric care extended to acute care hospitals through an  affiliation agreement process.

“We opened St. Francis in 2008 with the intent that it would serve families – women, children, babies,” he said. “And now we’ve found the right partner to do that.”

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Valentine said that Centura had been looking for a partner for children’s services for years, and the agreement was finally in place.

“It’s interesting timing with Children’s (Children’s Hospital of Denver) possibly moving down here,” he said. “But it’s just interesting. We’ve had this in the works for a while.”

Children’s Hospital of Denver is part of the partnership with the University of Colorado Hospital that will lease Memorial Health System if voters approve it Aug. 28. Memorial is Penrose’s only competition in the Springs.

“Our alignment with St. Francis Medical Center will focus on increasing access to care for families and providing pediatric specialty support to primary pediatricians and family medicine doctors in Colorado Springs,” said Mimi Roberson, CEO of Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.