Portland-based Mercy Health System said its parent company, Catholic Health East, is in talks to combine with Trinity Health of Michigan.

The talks between Catholic Health East and Trinity will not affect Mercy’s own discussions to be acquired by Steward Health Care of Massachusetts, Mercy said. Mercy and Steward are still in the process of exploring a deal and aim to reach a definitive agreement in a few months.

A takeover of Mercy by Steward would make it the first for-profit acute-care hospital in Maine. The proposed deal was announced in August.

Catholic Health East, based in Newtown Square, Pa., has been Mercy’s parent company since 1997 and owns hospitals from Maine to Florida.

A combined Catholic Health East and Trinity Health entity would create a health system serving 21 states from coast to coast with 82 hospitals and 87,000 employees. The new health system would have operating revenues of about $13.3 billion and assets of about $19.3 billion.

The proposed deals between Mercy and Steward, and Catholic Health East and Trinity, are part of ongoing efforts nationally by health care centers to cut costs, gain greater heft in negotiating with vendors and respond to changing health care policies.

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