FARGO -- MeritCare and Innovis health systems are announcing their support today for the Senate's latest draft of health care reform legislation.

The current bill includes a provision to increase Medicare funding for North Dakota and four other rural states, amounting to more than $650 million to North Dakota providers across 10 years.

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MeritCare officials will announce and explain their support for the legislation during a 1 p.m. press conference today.

Meanwhile, Innovis officials, who released a statement this morning, echoed words of support:

"This amendment is a bold initial step in addressing the long-term geographic disparity in Medicare reimbursement to North Dakota health systems, physicians and providers," Kevin Pitzer, Innovis' chief administrative officer said in a statement.