North Country Health Services in Bemidji, MN, and Dakotas-based Sanford Health have signed an affiliation agreement that will create Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota on March 1. As part of the affiliation, Sanford will invest $70 million in resources over the next ten years and will immediately make a $5 million gift to the NCHS Foundation, the two healthcare systems said Friday in a joint announcement.
NCHS and Sanford Bemidji Clinic said the affiliation is the "first step" in the integration of the two Bemidji-based organizations to provide coordinated care for patients close to home. Plans are underway to expand service lines for heart, cancer, orthopedics & sports medicine, women's health, and research and education. The affiliation is also expected to help with clinician recruiting.
In fact, 58% of recently polled rural health leaders named cardiology and oncology as their top targets for service line expansion.
"A yearlong evaluation process revealed many ways for us to better serve the region together as an integrated provider," said Kelby Krabbenhoft, CEO of Sanford Health. "We will combine the resources of a strong regional healthcare institution and a multi-specialty physician clinic, together with the Sanford Health System, to offer more primary and specialty care services and new programs in research and education. Our goals were the same -- to make Bemidji a regional referral center in northern Minnesota and this merger will enable us to do so."