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Published December 17, 2013, 08:38 AM

Sanford, Benefis health systems announce alliance

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Dakotas-based Sanford Health on Tuesday announced an alliance with Montana-based Benefis Health System.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Dakotas-based Sanford Health on Tuesday announced an alliance with Montana-based Benefis Health System.

The alliance will maintain the independence of both health networks while enabling them to collaborate in many areas, including clinical services and programs, research and doctor recruitment, officials said in a statement.

"The cultures of both organizations are similar and we have many shared values, goals and challenges," Benefis CEO John Goodnow said. "Our strategic alliance will provide the framework for us to collaborate in key areas, from highly specialized clinical services to exploring additional technology avenues, including some exciting opportunities in telehealth."

Both Sanford and Benefis are not-for-profit health care systems. Sanford, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Fargo, N.D., bills itself as the nation's largest not-for-profit rural health care provider, with locations in 126 communities in nine states. Benefis, based in Great Falls, Mont., serves a 15-county area in rural Montana.

"Montana's geographic location is contiguous to Sanford's — they are next door to the Dakotas, making Benefis a logical partner in working together to improve care for the people of the upper Midwest," Sanford Health CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft said.

The alliance will not impact the governance or financial structure of either organization.

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