Wimmera Health Care Group has appointed Cube Group to put together options on how to improve its partnership with Ballarat Health Services.
The consultancy firm has been selected after an open tender process.
A spokesman said the health services will consult with its board, employees and the community once it receives the firm's proposals.
The two health services first announced a decision to explore better partnering options in early August. Last month, Ballarat Health Services received $40,000 to roll out the HOPE suicide prevention program to Horsham, and sent a rapid coronavirus team to meatworks in Ararat and Nhill to undertake mandatory testing of workers.
As part of its pitch, Cube submitted a draft document that read in part:
"Thank you for the opportunity to submit this proposal to assist Wimmera Health Care Group and Ballarat Health Services in considering and possibly implementing a voluntary amalgamation."
The spokesman said this was submitted at the beginning of the appointment process. Cube has since provided a draft document.
WHCG's director of finance and corporate services Mark Knights said in a statement the two health services were working on the draft document "to underline the decision-making principles both services want to adopt".
"Those principles are at the draft stage but they include better outcomes for the region, equity of access to local services, opportunities for the workforce, effective health system for the region, community trust and support," he said.
Mr Knights said Cube had previously worked with health services on similar projects. He said the board would share more information in November, after reviewing Cube's first report.
WHCG board chair Maree Aitken said stage one of the consultation process would begin immediately between the two services, and would include discussion "around partnering ideas".
A Ballarat Health Services spokesman said: "We are looking at ways to further enhance the partnership between our regional health services to provide safe, accessible care closer to home.
"Victorian regional health services have demonstrated outstanding resilience, innovation and capacity for rapid change during the COVID-19 pandemic response.
"This difficult time has shown us the strength of working together. We are looking at ways to further enhance the partnership between our regional health services to provide safe, accessible care closer to home."
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