MINNEAPOLIS - It wasn't the kind of marriage that gets splashed all over the headlines in the tabloids, but it will make the front pages on health care and business journals.
HealthPartners and Park Nicolet have combined. Neither will take each other's name, but both will share in each other's possessions.
"Well, it's a trend in the industry right now," St. Thomas' Director of the Center for Health and Medical Affairs Daniel McLaughlin said. "I think the fact that people are getting bigger and more organized makes them more effective, and I think in the end you're going to see lower costs, higher quality and better care altogether."
The organizations, through a news release, say they won't close clinics, hoping to continue with plans to add locations. In a frequently asked questions release, the organization addressed what patients might perceive as changes.
"They won't notice any disruption. Over time, we expect it will mean more services, more options, and even better care," the release stated.
The health care systems also addressed layoff concerns.
"We don't expect them. Both of our organizations are growing. Consolidation was not a motivation for this agreement," according to the statement.
The MN Nurses Association was quick to express concern about the organizations coming together.
"It seems as things get bigger that more focus is shifted to the bottom line and how we save our health care dollars and not always spent well to the patient," Nurse Judy LeBeda said.
The new combination will offer 1,500 physicians and a health insurance revenue generator.
"It's complicated legally and you have to have the medical staffs understand each other so it's not an easy thing, but I'm sure it'll be very successful," McLaughlin concluded.
The agreement is expected to officially close on Jan. 1. It would add another big organization into the mix with Mayo, Fairview, and Allina.