FARGO - The merger between Sanford Health and Medcenter One became official with the stroke of a pen Tuesday.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem gave his OK to the merger, already approved by the boards of the two health systems, which will expand Sanford's coverage area into central and western North Dakota.
In a three-page letter outlining his review, Stenehjem said his office is "unable to conclude" that the transaction is not in Medcenter One's best interest.
No Medcenter One assets will be transferred under the deal, which merges the two nonprofit health systems.
"The findings indicate that there are several areas of potential benefit to the affiliating entities," Stenehjem said in his letter.
Benefits include expanding existing service areas and reducing costs due to eliminating duplication, including fiscal and information technology systems.
"There are modest anticipated savings in personnel costs," Stenehjem wrote. "Additional savings are expected in materials management, and enhanced pricing in procurement of needed supplies through greater buying power."
Comments were unavailable from Sanford or Medcenter One on Tuesday, but remarks are expected when the merger is officially announced Thursday in Bismarck.
All Medcenter One locations will continue to provide care and all staff will remain, with Dr. Craig Lambrecht, president and CEO, and other executives remaining.
Medcenter One will make the transition to the Sanford Health name over the next year, according to a joint statement by the two health systems.
Sanford Health, based in Fargo and Sioux Falls, S.D., includes 34 hospitals, 116 clinic locations and more than 1,000 physicians. It describes itself as the nation's largest rural, notfor-profit health system, with locations in 112 communities in seven states.
Medcenter One, based in Bismarck-Mandan, also has clinic locations in Dickinson, Minot and Jamestown.
A merger would push the combined annual revenues of the companies past $3 billion. Sanford's current gross revenues are $2.7 billion.