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St. Joseph Board Recommends Buyer

Three hospitals were up to take over the Towson medical center. The buyer must be approved by the hospital's parent, as well as state, federal and church officials.

The board of directors of r has recommended a buyer for the Towson hospital.

In a statement Tuesday, the hospital said the board forwarded a recommendation to the Board of Stewardship Trustees for Colorado-based Catholic Health Initiatives, the hospital's parent company.

The buyer will be announced when the final decision is made. Finalists, however, included LifeBridge Health, Ascension Health and the University of Maryland Medical System.

"As health care reform continues to evolve, it will be critical for health providers to be part of a regional network of coordinated health care organizations including hospitals, physicians, payers and other related health entities in geographically proximate areas," the hospital said in the statement.

Ascension is the only Catholic health system in the running, though all three have pledged to retain St. Joseph's Catholic identity.

St. Joseph's purchase will also require federal, state and church approval.

The hospital's troubles in recent years include investigation and litigation after a star cardiologist in hundreds of patients who may not have required them. In October, Dr. Mark Mideiagainst the hospital on defamation claims related to the scandal.

In 2010, the hospital paid  to settle kickback charges. In January, hospital officials announced .

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