BENSON — Swift County-Benson Health Services and Carris Health of Willmar are committed to integrating the delivery of health care services.

The two organizations have been in discussions throughout the summer, and signed a letter of intent Sept. 3 stating their goal to integrate. The Swift County Benson Health Services board of directors had unanimously voted in May to pursue an affiliation with a larger health care provider, and Carris Health became the preferred partner.

There remain many details to work out, and both organizations are currently doing their due diligence to develop a definitive agreement, according to Ashlie Bradley, director of human relations and business development with Swift County-Benson Health Services.

Bradley told the West Central Tribune the goal is to have an agreement in place at the start of the coming year. She said the health system is committed to an open and transparent process “to make sure providers, staff and patients are at the front of our decision making.”

Information posted on the Swift County-Benson Health website indicates the organizations are looking at an arrangement in which Carris Health would lease and manage the Benson facilities.

Swift County-Benson Health operates a hospital and clinic in Benson with 120 employees. It has an independent and assisted living facility with a memory care unit attached to the campus. Known as Scandi Haven Village, it has 45 to 50 employees and is currently managed by Progressive Care.

Many of the patients served by Swift County-Benson Health Services obtain advanced and specialty care from Carris Health in Willmar and CentraCare Health of St. Cloud. The established working relationship between the organizations was cited as a factor in pursuing the integration.

Bradley said Swift County-Benson Health Services feels that an affiliation with a larger system will provide more stability and allow the local provider to make enhancements. Providing quality, patient care close to home remains its top priority, she said.