CANTON, Ohio (News/Talk 1480 WHBC) – Cleveland Clinic has a presence in several hospitals in the area.

Now it looks to have one in Stark County.

The hospital system and Mercy Medical Center signed off on a non-binding letter of intent Friday to continue exploring options for the Clinic to operate the Canton hospital.

In a joint press release, Mercy parent company The Sisters of Charity say they have been looking to affiliate with another system for the last two years.

The release indicates that the goal is to provide expanded services, while maintaining the Canton hospital’s identification as a Catholic institution.

Next is what’s being called a period of “due diligence”, where the Clinic’s role at Mercy will be determined.

The Clinic operates hospitals in Summit, Tuscarawas and Medina Counties.