HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Two Huntington-based hospitals are one step closer to merging together.

On Wednesday, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and the West Virginia Health Care Authority approved Cabell-Huntington Hospital’s request to acquire St. Mary’s Medical Center.

“We are very excited to meet both the West Virginia Attorney Healthcare Authority and Attorney General’s approvals,” said Kevin Fowler, president and CEO of Cabell-Huntington Hospital. “These are important milestones in the regulatory approval process for the (St. Mary’s) acquisition.”

Michael Sellards, president and CEO of St. Mary’s, said they were also pleased with the decision.

“We remain convinced that this acquisition will improve the delivery of healthcare in our community and that it is in the best interest of patients and our employees and physicians,” Sellards said in a news release.

The Federal Trade Commission with have 14 days to consider the request, under a previously entered court order. The FTC will be looking at whether it will reinstitute proceedings before a an FTC administrative judge to determine if the merge violates any anti-trust laws.

Also, the move will require Vatican approval for Catholic-run St. Mary’s to merge with Cabell-Huntington.