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Hospital and Clinic integration moves forward in Otter Tail County

The Board of Directors of Lake Region Healthcare and Fergus Falls Medical Group announced today they reached a formal agreement to proceed with the integration of the two organizations. A Letter of Intent will be signed in the near future.

Talks began last spring, when a formal process to evaluate the potential of integration was announced.

Lake Region Healthcare CEO Larry Schulz says during the next several months, they will be working with integration consultants to complete the details.

"The new organization will be named Lake Region Healthcare," said Schulz, "and the integration is anticipated to officially begin on May 1, 2010."

The employees of Fergus Falls Medical Group will become employees of Lake Region Healthcare with the exception of physicians and other health professionals (nurse practitioners, physician assistants, audiologist, and optometrist) who will continue to be employed by Fergus Falls Medical Group.

"Lake Region Healthcare will purchase physician services and other health professional services from Fergus Falls Medical Group," said John Peterson, CEO of Fergus Falls Medical Group.

The buildings and equipment owned by Fergus Falls Medical Group will be purchased by Lake Region Healthcare and the current clinic building will be expanded in order to accommodate additional physicians.

The organizations are not looking to integrate with any other healthcare system.

"This is a locally driven process," says Schulz, "with our organizations working together to expand healthcare services and state-of-the-art medical facilities, while retaining local control over our health care system."

"As we embrace this opportunity to build a new and stronger organization, we look forward to providing enhanced care to the patients we serve," said Schulz. "This is a major milestone in the history of healthcare in the Fergus Falls area. "

Lake Region Healthcare Corporation, headquartered in Fergus Falls, is a not-for-profit organization which operates Lake Region Hospital, Bridgeway behavioral health services, acute rehabilitation services, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services, Athletic Republic, and the Mill Street Residence. Fergus Falls Medical Group, P.A. is a physician owned multi-specialty organization, likewise headquartered in Fergus Falls, which operates seven clinics throughout West Central Minnesota.