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      Hospital merger talks will not continue

      Merger talks between Valley Baptist Health System and Knapp Medical Center have flat lined.

      Just one month after signing a Memorandum of Understanding to discuss a new, not-for-profit healthcare system partnership, both hospitals agreed not to proceed.

      Valley Baptist's CEO, James Eastham, called it a letdown.

      "We've spent quite of time and energy and resources looking at our coming together| We are disappointed at the turn of events but we certainly understand Knapp's position," Eastham said.

      Wednesday TMs protest by physicians and community members outside Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco proved to be the turning point.

      Eastham said it became increasingly apparent that Knapp had, unresolved issues with their physicians.

      Dr. Alberto Cepeda with Knapp Medical Center said he was against a merger from the beginning.

      "We are well organized, we provide good care to our patients, we believe we should go that way instead of merging with somebody," Dr. Cepeda explained.

      Maggie Halaby, a spokesperson for Knapp Medical Center, said the initial plans to talk about a merger were from positions of financial strength and not meant to be a sign of a red flag to the community.

      "Certainly we were exploring options and opportunities of partnering with other organizations but there isn't anything for our patients, staff or community to be concerned with," Halaby said.