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Thief River Falls Hospital Affiliates With MeritCare

Last night, the membership of Northwest Medical Center Association in Thief River Falls, Minn., voted to amend their articles of incorporation and bylaws to make MeritCare Health System the sole corporate member and to make Northwest Medical Center (NMC) an affiliate of MeritCare, effective Nov. 1, 2007. The affiliation was approved by the MeritCare Board of Trustees on June 3 and the NMC Board of Directors on June 12. The Association member vote makes the hospital's affiliation with MeritCare final.

Last night, the membership of Northwest Medical Center Association in Thief River Falls, Minn., voted to amend their articles of incorporation and bylaws to make MeritCare Health System the sole corporate member and to make Northwest Medical Center (NMC) an affiliate of MeritCare, effective Nov. 1, 2007. The affiliation was approved by the MeritCare Board of Trustees on June 3 and the NMC Board of Directors on June 12. The Association member vote makes the hospital's affiliation with MeritCare final.

NMC is a 25-bed critical access hospital with inpatient and outpatient mental health services including a 15-bed adult group home and a 10-bed freestanding treatment center for emotionally disturbed children. MeritCare's affiliation with NMC will provide the stability, financial backing and resources to assure the long-term viability of quality health care in Thief River Falls. MeritCare will operate NMC as a regional medical center serving the northwest corner of Minnesota.

Board Chair Wallace Sparby commented, "Health care is very important in this community. MeritCare can help us provide better health care and expanded services. Together we can achieve great things."

MeritCare President and CEO Dr. Roger Gilbertson said, "MeritCare is excited to be a part of the Thief River Falls community. This is a great opportunity for integrating care in this region."

Benefits that MeritCare brings to NMC:
  • A new hospital facility will be built or significant upgrades to the current hospital facility will be made in the future.
  • The range of services provided locally to the Thief River Falls area is expected to increase.
  • MeritCare will provide management support in the areas of finance, purchasing, contracting, recruitment, IT, quality improvement, marketing, legal, leadership training and more.
  • Charitable care and community benefit programs will continue.
  • Additional physicians will be recruited based on community need.

How this affects NMC:
  • MeritCare will offer jobs to NMC employees.
  • The NMC Board of Directors will remain in office for their present term and until their successors are elected.
  • Two physician directors will be added to the NMC Board of Directors.
  • A representative from the Thief River Falls area will be elected to the MeritCare Health System Board of Trustees. This person does not need to be a member of the NMC Board.
  • Chris Harff, current CEO of Northwest Medical Center, will remain in that position.