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Catholic Health Initiatives, St. Alexius plan affiliation

BISMARCK — St. Alexius Medical Center and Catholic Health Initiatives have signed an agreement to form a new affiliation between the two organizations, a hospital spokeswoman said Saturday.

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The nonbinding letter of intent agreement, signed in March, is in a 120-day due diligence phase, said St. Alexius media relations official Julie Skaret.

The due diligence phase is designed to allow both organizations to make sure the planned affiliation would be advantageous for both CHI and St. Alexius, Skaret said, as well as members of the public.

When the 120-day period is up in July, the organizations will decide whether to move forward with the next step in forming the affiliation, or to extend the due diligence phase.

If a final agreement is reached, the new affiliation could occur by the end of the year.

St. Alexius is based in Bismarck. Catholic Health Initiatives, based in Englewood, Colo., is a nonprofit health system that operates hospitals in 18 states, including North Dakota and Minnesota.

The affiliation is designed to enhance services and improve coordination of care, Skaret said.

“CHI and St. Alexius have a long-standing history of working together,” said Gary Miller, St. Alexius Medical Center president and CEO. “Our organizations are guided by our mission to nurture the church’s healing ministry. We are pleased to pursue an opportunity with a provider who shares our commitment to meeting the Catholic health needs of our region as well as being an advocate for the most vulnerable members we serve.”

CHI Fargo Division Senior Vice President Jeffrey Drop said, “The partnership would ensure a viable, innovative, high-quality care option for residents in light of health care reform and other changes in the region.”

CHI is the parent company of St. Joesph’s Hospital and Health Center in Dickinson. The health care branch plans to move from its building at the center of the city to a new facility on the west side.