Big Minnesota health provider moves into oil patch

One of the biggest players in rural health care in Minnesota just moved west into the oil patch of western North Dakota.

Sanford Health, based in the Dakotas but owner and manager of a growing string of hospitals and clinics in western Minnesota, announced today it has taken over Bismarck-based Medcenter One, taking advantage of the oil boom in the state.

The company said it plans to invest $200 million over 10 years to improve health care in the Bismarck-Mandan area and throughout western North Dakota. That includes plans for a new “super clinic” in Dickinson, not far from the heart of the oil boom.

Medcenter One is a non-profit with a 228-bed hospital in Bismarck and clinics in Bismarck, Dickinson, Jamestown, Mandan and Minot. It saw a 34 percent increase in emergency visits from 2006 to 2011.

Sanford now has 34 hospitals and 116 clinics in seven states and has been growing rapidly. Since 2010, Sanford has taken over at least three hospitals in Minnesota. It’s one a handful of companies, along with Essentia, Mayo Clinic and Fairview, that have been buying and affiliating with rural community hospitals and clinics throughout the state.

Sanford still has facilities in more Minnesota communities (42) than either South Dakota (36) or North Dakota (24).

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