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Patrick Springer, Published October 07 2010

Sanford Health and Orthopaedic Associates merge

Sanford Health and Fargo’s Orthopaedic Associates merged Wednesday to form an orthopedics and sports medicine team that eventually will unite under one roof.

The merger, which had been pending for months, forms an orthopedic medicine program in Fargo-Moorhead that includes 14 orthopedic surgeons, two hand surgeons and three podiatrists.

Within a few months, all of Sanford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine will be housed in the Orthopaedic Associates clinic, located at 2301 25th St. S., Fargo.

Dr. Mark Lundeen of Orthopaedic Associates said Sanford executives gave assurances that the merger would not mean changes in the way the clinic treats patients.

Allying with Sanford will mean greater support in important areas, however, including the capability to do outcome studies, Lundeen said.

Together with Sanford’s 11 orthopedic surgeons in the Sioux Falls, S.D., region, the network has a “critical mass” of 35 surgeons that will draw the best talent and improve results, he added.

“Now you can collect really meaningful data” about outcomes, which will help to identify best practices, Lundeen said.

“This brings two great groups together,” said Dr. Matt Friederichs, a Sanford orthopedic surgeon. “It’s a meeting of the minds, a lot of great talent in the two groups coming together.”

Also, he added, “Accessibility will be better.”

Orthopaedic Associates physicians already were part of Sanford’s provider network, and Orthopaedic Associates surgeons performed their operations at Sanford, so the two groups already had regular contact, Friederichs said.

The combined orthopedics program will produce a program that is significant not only regionally, Lundeen said, but nationally.

“This begins to take on national importance,” he said.

Asked for possible new initiatives stemming from the merger, Lundeen said, “I have nothing written down, but I have ideas,” but declined to offer specifics.

The merger means the vast majority of orthopedic surgeons in Fargo-Moorhead now are at Sanford.

Essential Health lists four physicians among its orthopedic medicine team in Fargo-Moorhead.

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