Negotiations between SSM Health and University of Missouri Health Care to purchase SSM hospitals in Jefferson City and Audrain County have ended without the sale of either facility.

The two organizations have mutually agreed to allow the letter of intent first signed in August 2018 to expire on Jan. 7, according to a news release from SSM.

SSM will continue to work with MU Health Care as it broadens it search for a partner to purchase the two hospitals. The two hospitals were presented as a package deal in the original purchase letter. Details still are scant on the next steps SSM will take. Questions surrounding partnerships already established with MU Health Care and if the purchase of the two hospitals will be separate, rather than packaged, could not be answered by SSM representatives at this time.

"We continue to view MU Health Care as a valuable potential partner," SSM President/CEO Laura Kaiser said in the news release. "We remain committed to exploring opportunities to work together to improve access to high-quality affordable health-care services for the people we serve."

MU Health Care CEO Jonathan Curtright agreed relationships have been built between the two organizations over the past year through its purchase negotiations. No timeline has been established for identifying a potential partner or reaching a new agreement for purchases.

"We continue to value the voices of community support for our shared goal to create an outstanding and sustainable health-care model that provides quality care and support to patients, employees, physicians and communities across Missouri," Curtright said.

SSM is moving forward thoughtfully and deliberately, Kaiser said, adding the Catholic, not-for-profit health system has a "sacred calling to ensure that the people of mid-Missouri have access to high-quality, compassionate care for generations to come."