MeritCare should get good deal in Sanford mergerNot everyone in Fargo is cheering the completion of the merger of Fargo’s MeritCare and Sanford Health of Sioux Falls, S.D. Doubts about the wisdom of the merger still linger among a few prominent Fargo residents. They believe that despite assurances from managers of both health systems, the ultimate result will be job losses in Fargo and second-place status for the former MeritCare.
By: The Forum, The Jamestown Sun
Not everyone in Fargo is cheering the completion of the merger of Fargo’s MeritCare and Sanford Health of Sioux Falls, S.D. Doubts about the wisdom of the merger still linger among a few prominent Fargo residents. They believe that despite assurances from managers of both health systems, the ultimate result will be job losses in Fargo and second-place status for the former MeritCare.
They might be overreacting. The deal indeed looks like the merger of equals its proponents have been promising. A review by North Dakota’s attorney general and an outside accounting firm concluded that the merger would be financially good for MeritCare. The AG, whose examination was limited by law to financial viability, concluded that the merger was sound and could proceed. Further assurances by executives of both health systems were repeated Monday as the merger was completed.
“Stronger Together” was an appropriate theme for Monday’s announcement. There is no doubt that the assets of both units of the new health care system combine to create an impressive organization. It will be the largest health care network in the Dakotas with a service territory of 130,000 square miles (over parts of five states) and 17,000 employees, including 800 doctors. Total assets are $1.9 billion. The economies of scale will position Sanford MeritCare to compete in a changing and challenging health care market, with the aim of delivering high-quality care to its customers.
That’s really the important element in the deal, and should be the most important concern among Fargo residents, even those who object to the merger. Patient services from basic physical examinations to the latest in specialized surgeries will be the ultimate measure of the merger’s success. In that regard, both units of the new company have excellent reputations. Both have certain strengths that will both complement and expand patient choices. Both have shown long-term commitments to patient needs by significant investments in technology, buildings and skilled personnel.
The next major announcement from the new company likely will be plans for expanding Fargo facilities, including a larger Roger Maris Cancer Center and a new medical campus at Agassiz Crossing in southwest Fargo.
The commonalities of the corporate and care cultures of MeritCare and Sanford make the merger a good fit. Those long-established patient-centered values should continue to inform the work of the larger, stronger regional health care network.