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MeritCare, Wheaton hospital sign management agreement

WHEATON, Minn. - MeritCare will take over some management services at the Wheaton Community Hospital and Medical Center, under an agreement the two health care systems signed today.

Through the arrangement, MeritCare will provide management and consulting services in several areas at the Wheaton facility, including information technology, clinical services and legal services, according to a news release from MeritCare.

If all goes well, an affiliation agreement is expected to follow, although no date has been set for that to occur, the release said.

"A partnership with MeritCare would provide the stability, financial backing and resources we need to ensure long-term viability of health care in the Wheaton area," Jesse Tischer, CEO and administrator of Wheaton Community Hospital and Medical Center, said in a statement.

Serving Minnesota's Traverse County, the Wheaton Community Hospital and Medical Center employs 120 people and offers 15 critical-access beds, among other services.

Meritcare's recent merger with Sioux Falls-based Sanford Health was not a factor in the discussions, according to the release.

The agreement expands MeritCare's commitment to regional health care.

Earlier this year, MeritCare announced a formal partnership with the Union Hospital in Mayville, N.D., which will go into effect Jan. 1.