The Verdugo Hills Hospital board of directors voted at its June meeting to “initiate merger discussions” with the Keck Medical Center of the University of Southern California, a hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday.

“This could possibly lead to an affiliation with the Keck Medical Center of USC by the end of 2012,” said Celine Petrossian, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist for Verdugo Hills Hospital.

Leslie Ridgeway, spokeswoman for health sciences at USC, issued an identical statement as Verdugo Hills hospital.

The 158-bed Glendale hospital has been looking for partnerships to help it serve the community and manage the challenges that are anticipated to arise from health care reform. On March 22 the hospital released a statement saying it was, “exploring strategic opportunities for affiliation and partnerships.”

For more on this story you can read the July 23 edition of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.