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MeritCare considering merger with Sioux Falls provider

FARGO - Fargo's MeritCare Hospital and Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, S.D., are looking at merging health care services, the hospitals announced late this afternoon in a statement.

Discussions are underway and considered exploratory, according to the statement from MeritCare president and chief executive officer Roger Gilbertson and Sanford CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft.

The statement, in its entirety, reads:

"MeritCare and Sanford Health have commenced discussions at the executive and board level to evaluate the potential of a combined organization for the purpose of furthering their similar missions of improving patient care in the communities we serve. Both systems expect that these discussions will be comprehensive. At this time, these conversations are exploratory. An update is expected by the end of the summer."