MEXICO, Mo. - SSM Health has officially signed a definitive agreement to transfer ownership of St. Mary's Hospital- Audrain and associated practices to Noble Health. 

The two health systems signed a letter of intent and began negotiations of the hospital in July. 

The two will now partner through all the details to ensure a "smooth transition for patients and team members."

“Throughout this process, Noble Health has been an excellent partner and repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to not only preserving, but enhancing, the high-quality compassionate care already provided by our team members in Audrain,” SSM Health President and CEO Laura Kaiser said. “We believe this is the best way to ensure the long-term sustainability of quality care in this community.”

A press release said if all goes as planned, transfer to Noble Health is anticipated in the first quarter of the year. 

“Noble Health’s goal is to serve the residents of Audrain County with comprehensive, high-quality care and we look forward to continuously working to offer the right resources to the community,” Don Peterson, Executive Chairman of the Board at Noble Health, said.

Noble Health is based in Kansas City and recently began management of Callaway Community Hospital in Fulton.

SSM Health purchased St. Mary's Hospital in 2013. The hospital opened in 1918 as Audrain Medical Center. It is a 70-bed community hospital. 

SSM Health also owns St. Mary's Hospital- Jefferson City. The health company announced the intent to sell the hospital to Tennessee based Quorum Health Corporation in November.