MeritCare-Sanford merger gets N.D. approval
FARGO North Dakota's attorney general gave the green light Wednesday to the proposed merger of Fargo-based MeritCare with Sanford Health, based in Sioux Falls, S.D. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem concluded the merger would be in MeritCare's "be...
North Dakota's attorney general gave the green light Wednesday to the proposed merger of Fargo-based MeritCare with Sanford Health, based in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem concluded the merger would be in MeritCare's "best interest," after reviewing financial records and a consultant's study.
Stenehjem's office retained Brady Martz & Associates, a Bismarck certified public accounting firm, to help it evaluate a merger study MeritCare and Sanford obtained from a consultant, Deloitte.
"It appears Deloitte used an objective, unbiased process in identifying increased revenue sources and cost reduction or efficiency opportunities," Stenehjem wrote.
"The benefits include the expansion of existing services and service areas and expected savings through cost reductions in duplicate services," he added in his letter to Dr. Roger Gilbertson, president and chief executive of MeritCare Health System.
Mark Johnston, Sanford's vice president of administration and corporate communications, spoke for both health systems in welcoming Stenehjem's approval.
"We are very pleased with the attorney general's report," he said.
The two boards are expected to meet in the near future, with an announcement expected Monday, he said.
The two health systems have service areas that do not overlap. Combined, their service area will include parts of five states covering 130,000 square miles, with a population of 2 million.
Gilbertson and Kelby Krabbenhoft, Sanford's chief executive, have said the primary benefits of a merger would come from added strengths, not through cost reduction. No layoffs are expected, Krabbenhoft has said.
Stenehjem said his review authority was limited by law. He was not able to evaluate the effect on services, but accepts the conclusion of MeritCare's board that merging will make the organization stronger.
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.