Twin Cities merger combines payer and provider

September 17, 2012
Jamie J. Gooch

Jamie J. Gooch is an Ohio-based freelance writer. His areas of expertise include several professional industries as well as marketing and e-media.

HealthPartners and Park Nicollet Health Services, have decided to combine to create an integrated healthcare delivery and financing powerhouse.

Two large healthcare organization serving the Twin Cities, HealthPartners and Park Nicollet Health Services, have decided to combine to create an integrated healthcare delivery and financing powerhouse.

The agreement will unite the non-profit organizations under a combined, consumer-governed board of directors, creating a 1,500-physician multispecialty group practice integrated with the HealthPartners health plan. Representatives from the organizations cite stronger coordination of patient care, shared planning and capital investment, and new links between care and insurance as benefits of the merger.

Andrea Walsh, executive vice president of HealthPartners, cited the changing healthcare landscape as the main driver of the merger.

“Combining HealthPartners and Park Nicollet positions us strategically for the future at a time when healthcare is more dynamic than ever,” she said. “Our missions are very much in sync, and by combining, we’ll have more capabilities and resources to change healthcare for the better. As a combined organization, we’ll be able to do all of these things even better, faster and on a wider scale.”

The organizations’ current leaders will have leadership positions in the combined, non-profit organization. Mary Brainerd, HealthPartners president and CEO, will be CEO of the new organization, which will be named HealthPartners. David Abelson, MD, president and CEO, Park Nicollet, will lead the combined organization’s care delivery system, which will be named the Park Nicollet HealthPartners Care Group.

Company representatives expect the combination to strengthen HealthPartners’ health plan capabilities via a larger care delivery system, new care models and new programs and services. Patients of either clinic system will have the same access and coverage under their health plan as they did before. HealthPartners Clinics accept most insurance, as does Park Nicollet Clinics.

The combined operations will include Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minn., four HealthPartners hospitals – Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater, Minn., Hudson Hospital in Hudson, Wis., and Westfields Hospital in New Richmond, Wis. – and a system of medical and dental clinics across the Twin Cities and western Wisconsin. This system will be integrated with the HealthPartners health plan, which serves more than 1.4 million medical and dental members nationwide.

Pending review by the U.S. Justice Department, the agreement will be effective Jan. 1, 2013.

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