Trinity Health partnership talks folded

MINOT, N.D. -- A potential venture that would have united Trinity Health in Minot with Montana's Billings Clinic Regional RegionalCare has unraveled.

MINOT, N.D. -- A potential venture that would have united Trinity Health in Minot with Montana's Billings Clinic Regional RegionalCare has unraveled.

The two health systems acknowledged Thursday that a letter of intent aimed at a possible partnership, signed five months ago, has expired and talks have folded. Neither Trinity nor RegionalCare said why the partnership talks sputtered.

Trinity was interested in a potential partnership as it plans a new medical campus, still in the works, to replace two downtown locations that administrators said are inefficient and inconvenient for patients.

"Trinity Health is fortunate to be in a position of financial and clinical strength, so we can take the time necessary to ensure our strategic goals and objectives are achieved," Pat Holien, Trinity's board chairman, said in a statement.

John Kutch, Trinity's president and chief executive officer, said the health system "will continue to explore partnerships that are aligned with our mission" as a regional health care provider.


Neither Holien nor Kutch elaborated about Trinity's plans. The health system is the dominant provider in a service area surrounding Minot that has grown rapidly because of petroleum development.

Trinity has been working with architects to design a new 208-bed hospital on a 72-acre campus on the city's south side.

Billings Clinic RegionalCare issued a statement acknowledging that talks have ended and the letter of intent expired on Oct. 31.

In was in June, Trinity Health signed the agreement to enter into the partnership, which kicked off the due diligence process.

Julie Burton, Billings Clinic’s director of communications,  described that process as an exploratory period that gave the two organizations time to find out more about each other and their operations. When that ended Oct. 31 and because an agreement wasn't signed by then, neither party had to move forward with the partnership.

"Right now, additional discussions and further development have stopped. We both spent five months gathering the information that we needed, and we worked cooperatively together. We look forward to watching what Trinity Health does in the future in Minot and wish them all the best," Burton said.

Billings Clinic RegionalCare is a joint venture between Montana-based Billings Clinic and Tennessee-based RegionalCare Hospital Partners, a national hospital system.

Sanford Health, based in Fargo and Sioux Falls, S.D., continues to consider expanding its operations in Minot, where it recently added examination rooms and remodeled one of its clinic locations.


Sanford has an option to buy land in Minot, and Kelby Krabbenhoft said in July possibilities could include a hospital.

"All possibilities remain on the table around how best to use that land," Cindy Morrison, a Sanford executive vice president said Thursday in a statement. "Immediate future plans are focused on adding more outpatient services and clinic space," Morrison said. "Location and details will be announced in the coming months."

The Billings Gazette contributed to this report

Related Topics: HEALTH
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