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Sanford Health-MeritCare and Southeast Medical Center-Oakes Exploring Partnership

Southeast Medical Center in Oakes, N.D., and Sanford Health-MeritCare are exploring ways to work more closely together to further enhance the high-quality health care already available in the communities they serve.

Southeast Medical Center in Oakes, N.D., and Sanford Health-MeritCare are exploring ways to work more closely together to further enhance the high-quality health care already available in the communities they serve. "Health care is rapidly changing today. Health care organizations in the broad region have approached us to partner and we are working with them as we see the value of working together to improve care," said Paulette Amundson, MeritCare Vice President of Community Clinics and Doug Vang, MeritCare Health Network President. Thirty-two years ago in southeast North Dakota, Drs. Rup and Vani Nagala began developing the rural health system known today as Southeast Medical Center. Over time, the two physicians expanded their practice beyond just Oakes, to include the communities of Gwinner, Forman, Lidgerwood, Ellendale, LaMoure, and Lisbon, N.D. The integration of these strategically located clinics with Sanford Health-MeritCare's vast network of rural facilities will help to bridge coverage across North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota by providing a more robust health care system for rural communities in the greater region. As the two parties move toward an agreement, continuity of patient care will remain the top priority as Drs. Vani and Rup Nagala plan to continue their practice for the foreseeable future. "We wish to leave the communities of southeast North Dakota with a legacy of caring, competent, and state-of-the-art health care," expresses Dr. Rup Nagala. "We are committed to ensuring the best health care possible in southeastern North Dakota for our rural communities." Sanford Health-MeritCare wishes to partner with this well-known, highly respected premier clinic practice for multiple reasons. The partnership will substantially enhance continuity of care between the two entities, as Southeast Medical Center will gain access to the Sanford Health-MeritCare electronic medical record system. The partnership will also build a more integrated, collaborative network of providers by strengthening the relationships between primary care providers at Southeast Medical Center and specialists associated with Sanford Health-MeritCare. Furthermore, the partnership will provide physicians, physician assistants, nurses, and paramedical staff at Southeast Medical Center several opportunities for training and health education through Sanford Health-MeritCare, ultimately improving the quality of rural health care in the region. Both parties are working toward a final agreement that is expected to close on July 1, 2010. Additional information
  • All employees will keep their jobs and will become employed by Sanford Health-MeritCare.
  • There will be no immediate changes in services, as all current medical care will continue.
  • This partnership is a growth strategy that will allow Sanford Health-MeritCare and Southeast Medical Center to offer more highly specialized medical services to communities in the service area.
  • Southeast Medical Center's ability to recruit and retain doctors and other highly skilled medical staff will be enhanced as part of a larger system.
  • The partnership will expand and enhance services. One example is the electronic medical record, which allows medical professionals at any Sanford Health-MeritCare location and any Southeast Medical Center location to access a patient's record and thus enhance the continuity of care.
  • Sanford Health-MeritCare's relationship with the UND School of Medicine and other major research institutions across the nation bring the latest treatments, medications and research closer to home for people in the Southeast Medical Center service area.
Southeast Medical Center background
  • Current medical staff includes four physicians with board certification in family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics & gynecology, geriatrics, sports medicine and phlebotomy.
  • Additional providers include six certified physician assistants, a certified family nurse practitioner and a physical therapist.
  • Support staff at all locations includes 45 full and part-time employees.
For more information about Southeast Medical Center, visit