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Sanford, MeritCare Merger Creates Giant Health System in the Dakotas

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, November 2, 2009

South Dakota-based Sanford Health and North Dakota-based MeritCare Health System wrapped up months of negotiations today and formally announced that they have merged to become one of the nation's largest, nonprofit, integrated rural healthcare systems.

The new health system will be called Sanford Health-MeritCare, although the southern region will continue to operate under the name Sanford Health with corporate offices in Sioux Falls, and the northern region will continue to operate under the name MeritCare, with corporate offices in Fargo.

"At the core of this new organization rest two healthcare 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,” says Kelby Krabbenhoft, newly appointed CEO/President of Sanford Health-MeritCare.

Krabbenhoft says the cost of the merger was about $700,000.

Sanford Health-MeritCare will operate in six states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, with 17,400 employees and more than 800 physicians, 70 specialty areas in medicine, and 29 hospitals over 1,600 beds serving more than 2 million people in the service area. The combined annual net revenue is $2 billion.

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