FARGO, N.D. - Following approval by their Boards of Trustees, South Dakota-based Sanford Health (Sanford) and North Dakota-based MeritCare Health System (MeritCare) today announced the two organizations have merged to become one of the country's largest integrated health care systems. The new System will strengthen health care in the region by expanding services, research, education and access to care.
"Our commitment is to pursue a world class reputation for medical care, to be nationally relevant as one of its best performing health care organizations, and to find a cure for devastating diseases affecting the health of the people we serve," commented Kelby Krabbenhoft, newly appointed President & Chief Executive Officer of Sanford Health-MeritCare. "We believe these objectives are what we have been called to do because of the history, stature, and ability of our organization and physicians and staff. We also believe our efforts will be a source of confidence and pride throughout our entire region."
Other priorities for the merged organization include: providing the best possible patient experience and development of new services in Centers of Excellence such as Heart, Cancer, Women's, Children's, Emergency, Trauma, and Orthopedics. Additional priorities are stability and opportunities for staff and physicians and their future professional development including expansion of education and medical training programs, involvement and support for communities through investments in projects involving health and wellness, children's services, education and economic development.
"The decision to combine our organizations demonstrates the ongoing commitment MeritCare and Sanford have to find new ways of improving health and access to care for people in our respective regions," said Ellen Earl-Chaffee, Chair, MeritCare Board of Trustees.
"As our two organizations achieved strong regional leadership positions, it was important that we continued to promote health and economic development," said Barb Stork, Chair of Sanford Board of Trustees. "Through our new merged organization we will grow and improve our services, and expand our research and education capabilities as a shared mission."
MeritCare is North Dakota's largest health system with many regional clinic and hospital sites in North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota. It is known for regional excellence in a number of clinical specialties such as the Roger Maris Cancer Center, Heart Center, and Children's Hospital. It has a strong record of research and educational activities, and supporting new health care developments and community service programs.
Sanford Health is comprised of Sanford Clinic, Sanford USD Medical Center and a network of community hospitals and clinics in South Dakota, Southwest Minnesota, Northwest Iowa, and Northeast Nebraska. It is known for its comprehensive health services, and growing research and education programs.
A recent $400 million gift from T. Denny Sanford has enabled Sanford Health to initiate significant research programs in children's health and other research areas, an Initiative to fund a cure for Type 1 Diabetes and the establishment of Children's World Clinics, and health campus developments which includes the recently opened Sanford Children's Hospital and a new Sanford Heart Hospital which is under construction.
"At the core of this new organization rest two health care legends that go back to the 1890's. They come forward now in a united trust that is demonstrated to each other through our combined vision and mission to be one of the nation's best health systems. Patients should be comforted and confident that our great physicians, staff and institutions await those we serve in both regions amongst hundreds of communities," said Krabbenhoft. "Together we will grow and improve the delivery of medicine, deliver on the promise of results in research, and deliver on the promise of medical and health education. This new system is designed to address the challenges and opportunities of today. It is also designed to continue the legacy of the past as a commitment to opportunities, security for care, and the work of tens of thousands of our employees and their families in generations to come."
MeritCare President and CEO, Roger Gilbertson, M.D., said "together Sanford and MeritCare will bring the full potential of an integrated care system to the benefit of patients, communities, employees and physicians. It will add value for patients, be proactive in health care reform, attract talent including physicians, nurses, health professionals, and others who will significantly advance the sophistication and comprehensiveness of services offered, and promote economic development in our communities." Dr. Gilbertson will be retiring as planned after more than 17 years as president and CEO of MeritCare and 30 years as a practicing physician.
"The six state presence and premier medical centers in adjacent geographic regions that are a part of the combination of MeritCare and Sanford create a new health organization. It will have the ability to increase its level of efficiency and health care delivery for a very broad population in large contiguous service areas, and expand research activities and education programs for further improvement," commented Bruce Morgan, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, an independent consulting firm.