The parent companies of The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich and Hartford Hospital are moving ahead with plans to affiliate, under an agreement that would make Backus part of the Hartford HealthCare network.

Backus Corporation and Hartford HealthCare announced Thursday that they signed a memorandum of understanding and will now work on developing a definitive agreement. Any potential affiliation would require approval from state and federal authorities, a process that’s expected to take several months.

The move would be among a series of potential affiliations and mergers of hospitals across the state. Currently, Yale-New Haven Hospital is seeking state approval to acquire The Hospital of St. Raphael and its parent company — a public hearing is scheduled for June 5 — and Waterbury and St. Mary’s hospitals are pursuing a joint venture with a private Texas group that would produce a single for-profit hospital.

St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford and Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford Springs have also announced plans to affiliate.

The Hartford HealthCare network already includes Hartford and Windham hospitals, MidState Medical Center in Meriden, and The Hospital of Central Connecticut, which has campuses in New Britain and Southington.

In announcing the agreement, the two companies said an affiliation would allow them to share staff expertise and give patients access to a wider range of services.

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Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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