- Associated Press - Monday, June 22, 2015

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota’s population growth and good economy have increased the attractiveness of hospital partnerships and buyouts, according to the president of the state’s hospital trade organization.

North Dakota previously has lacked the population base to generate much interest in hospital acquisitions by outside groups, North Dakota Hospital Association President Jerry Jurena told the Minot Daily News (http://bit.ly/1QLPNEi ).

The state’s population, buoyed by an oil boom, has grown by nearly 10 percent to a record 740,000 residents since the 2010 Census. That’s up about 94,000 residents since 2004. That has driven an increase in the volume of medical services in the state.

“North Dakota looks attractive. People are reaching out to us,” Jurena said. “Now even the rural hospitals have some potential with return on investment.”

The latest change is in Minot, where Trinity Health announced earlier this month that it’s becoming part of Montana-based Billings Clinic RegionalCare - a partnership that will include a new medical campus in Minot.

There also have been big changes in recent years in the hospital landscape in Fargo and Bismarck. In 2008, Essentia Health acquired Dakota Clinic/Innovis Health in Fargo. The following year, South Dakota-based Sanford Health and MeritCare Health System in Fargo announced a merger that took the name of Sanford Health. Three years later, Sanford Health bought Medcenter One in Bismarck.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

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