MANCHESTER — Major health care organizations serving New Hampshire could soon form a new partnership.

Catholic Medical Center has signed a non-binding letter of intent exploring a partnership with HCA Healthcare, which operates Parkland Medical Center in Derry, Portsmouth Regional Hospital and Frisbie Hospital in Rochester.

The announcement on Wednesday, Sept. 27, comes a little more than a year after CMC’s attempted merger with Dartmouth Health, which was deemed unconstitutional by New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella.

Formella said that combination would violate a clause in the state constitution that requires “free and fair competition in the trades and industries.”

It remains to be seen whether a CMC and HCA merger would encounter the same objections.

The letter of intent is the first step in the process, according to CMC officials. In that statement they listed reasons why they are looking to partner with a different company.

Among the reasons cited, a need to “enhance the immediate and long-term financial viability of CMC,” in addition to providing high-quality care for patients and offering charity care for those in need.

HCA is an international healthcare corporation that owns 183 hospitals across the United States and the United Kingdom.

“Catholic Medical Center and HCA Healthcare share a decades-long commitment to providing high quality healthcare in communities across New Hampshire,” said Dean Carucci, the New England president of HCA. “We look forward to working closely with the CMC team, local physicians, caregivers, and leaders to advance care and continue CMC’s celebrated 50-year legacy of providing high quality Catholic healthcare.”

The merger would take away CMC’s nonprofit standing, but the hospital would still continue its Catholic mission of providing charitable service to those in need, partially through the creation of a nonprofit organization within the hospital.

“We have been on a journey to identify a partner that will, first and foremost, support our mission of health, healing and hope, as well as a partner who will embrace who we are as a Catholic hospital,” said Alex Walker, CMC’s president and CEO. “With HCA Healthcare, we believe we have found that partner.”

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