Sanford and Mid Dakota Potential Merger Blocked

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A potential blockage of a merger between two healthcare systems has both entities “very frustrated”…

Happening now…Emily Medalen is live to tell us how this possible absorption of a smaller clinic could affect patients in the state.

Emily, what did you find out?

Well, Tim and Alysia, last week, Sanford and Mid Dakota Clinic signed an agreement – which was one of the final steps to completing the merger that was announced last September. 

A day later, the Federal Trade Commission and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem filed a complaint against the merger.

I spoke with Sanford and Mid Dakota Clinic… here’s what I found out.

After an agreement for Sanford Health and Mid Dakota clinic to merge was signed just last week, the FTC and attorney General Wayne Stenehjem stepped in with a temporary block – 

stating the two healthcare providers are the largest in the area..

The concerns are that the merger would give Sanford the upper hand.. decreasing opportunity for competition in the Bismarck-Mandan area.

The CEO of Mid Dakota Clinic argues that the merger would do more good than harm.

“We’re very interested in being able to grow our services, whether that’s new facilities, new clinical care services, and at this point in time, because of all the changes in healthcare, we felt like we needed a partner to be able to do that,” said Marvin Lein, CEO, Mid Dakota Clinic.

In a statement from Sanford, Dr. Craig Lambrecht said “patients deserve all the benefits that this partnership will bring”… 

(STATEMENT FROM SANFORD) “We have great respect for Mid Dakota Clinic and their physicians. Patients deserve all the benefits that this partnership will bring. Our unwavering commitment to new and expanded services is demonstrated by our actions and will be even further demonstrated this fall when the hearing is held.” – Dr. Craig Lambrecht, Executive Vice President, Sanford Bismarck.

If this merger was completed.. Sanford would control 75-85% of adult primarycare, pediatrics, and adult gynocology services in the Bismarck-Mandan Area, according to the complaint.

Lein says the two entities are confident that patient care would significantly increase with the merger.

“Extending hours, for instance, for our primary care services, running our urgent care services longer on the weekends, maybe longer during weekdays,” said Lein.

“Sanford Health and Mid Dakota Clinic said that the legal action taken was “very frustrating,” but some residents feel that, if the merger goes through, they’ll have too few healthcare options.” 

On Facebook, comments have questioned anti-trust laws.

Lein says nobody needs to be concerned about losing services.

“There’s going to be no decrease in access to healthcare,” said Lein.

He says the entities will continue to work towards the merger, despite the current hold.

“I think we’re going to be able to work through those issues. At the end of the day, we’re absolutely convinced that this is going to be good for the community,” said Lein.

An administrative trial is scheduled November 28th to determine if the merger can go through.

Lein added that hopes for the future are to build a new women’s and children’s healthcare center – he says they are maxed out on space at both entities.

He says that can happen within 1 to 2 years if the merger passes.

I reached out to CHI St. Alexius to hear what they had to say, and received no word back.

 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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