Representatives of Erlanger Health System and Murphy Medical Center have entered into an exclusive letter of intent. Before finalizing any agreement, both parties must complete a due-diligence process that should take about 90 days. Erlanger has been looking for ways to increase revenue and acquire more physicians. It responded to a solicitation from MMC for offers to purchase, lease, or manage. Like many small hospitals, MMC does not have the resources to ensure compliance with what turbulence may lie ahead for industry regulation. The alliance would thus attract more doctors to MMC and make feasible an expansion of operations, which now serve about 44,000 and include, among other things, a 25-bed hospital and an athletic rehabilitation center. MMC is currently negotiating an agreement with Century Care Management, Incorporated of Cary, North Carolina, for its 134-bed nursing home. In the meantime, Erlanger is going to add a sixth helicopter to its LIFE FORCE fleet and station it at the Western Carolina Regional Airport, near Murphy. Until August 15 LIFE FORCE will continue servicing the area out of its Blue Ridge, Georgia base. Erlanger is a group of physicians and medical centers headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It serves a 31,400-square-mile region taking in parts of Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina.