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Patrick Springer, Published June 19 2010

Sanford, Orthopaedic Associates in merger talks

Sanford Health-MeritCare and Orthopaedic Associates of Fargo are in negotiations exploring a partnership, but no final agreements have been reached.

The two organizations acknowledged the talks are in progress in a joint statement released Friday but declined to answer questions.

“I have a great deal of respect for the level of medical expertise at Orthopaedic Associates,” said Kelby Krabbenhoft, Sanford-MeritCare’s chief executive. “We are always focusing on what is best for our patients. Partnering with OA continues the momentum that’s building this service to a national level of prominence.”

Orthopaedic Associates, whose eight orthopedic surgeons use MeritCare Hospital operating suites, was formed in 1988 and opened its clinic location at 2301 25th St. S. in 1993. It has 66 employees.

“Orthopaedic Associates of Fargo has had a long-term commitment of excellence in orthopedics and sports medicine in the Red River Valley,” said the clinic’s Dr. Mark Lundeen.

“Sanford Health’s focus on expanding and improving the delivery of high-quality care to the entire region they serve matches with our own. I am optimistic about the possibilities that exist from our potential partnership,” Lundeen added.

Orthopaedic Associates serves as the team physicians for the Concordia College Cobbers, F-M RedHawks, Shanley High School, West Fargo High School and Middle School, Valley City State University and Oak Grove High School, among others.

MeritCare, which recently became team physicians for the North Dakota State University Bison, has eight orthopedic surgeons, two hand surgeons, and six podiatric medicine specialists. Innovis Health has five orthopedic surgeons.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522