The 14 hospitals owned by CommonSpirit Health in North Dakota and Minnesota could join Essentia Health as early as this summer.

Essentia Health and CommonSpirit Health have signed a letter of intent for CommonSpirit-owned facilities operating under the CHI brand in North Dakota and Minnesota to join Essentia Health. This includes CHI St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck, a full-service tertiary hospital and 13 critical access hospitals, along with associated clinics and living communities currently operated by CommonSpirit and CHI Health at Home home health and hospice agencies.

Leaders from Essentia and CommonSpirit look forward to continuing their strategic discussions, building on their mutually held commitment to the health and vitality of this region.

“This is an exciting opportunity to extend our passion for excellence in rural health care to additional communities,” Essentia CEO Dr. David C. Herman said. “We’re grateful that our shared Benedictine heritage and values form a strong foundation for our ongoing discussions. It would be an honor to carry on the rich tradition of high-quality Catholic health care evident today in these CHI facilities.”

“CommonSpirit wants patients in this region to have access to a strong network of rural and tertiary hospitals, primary and specialty care, and telehealth services,” said Dr. Cliff Robertson, senior vice president for CommonSpirit’s Midwest division. “Essentia Health is well-positioned to integrate these facilities into a continuum of care, while carrying on the Catholic heritage and mission of these facilities. We look forward to continuing our conversations.”

Signing a letter of intent is the first step in the process of reaching a formal agreement to transfer ownership of these facilities. It is the hope of both organizations that the due diligence process moves forward smoothly, and the CHI facilities could join Essentia by summer 2021.

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