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Published July 10, 2009, 12:00 AM

MeritCare: ‘Letter of intent not binding’

On the eve of a news conference in which community leaders will express concerns over a possible merger, Fargo-based MeritCare sent an internal update from its chief executive to reassure physicians and associates.

By: Patrick Springer, INFORUM

On the eve of a news conference in which community leaders will express concerns over a possible merger, Fargo-based MeritCare sent an internal update from its chief executive to reassure physicians and associates.

Any letter of intent to merge with Sanford Health, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., would be a “non-binding agreement” outlining a framework to achieve a merger, according to the statement, labeled an update from MeritCare’s chief executive, Dr. Roger Gilbertson.

The message, a copy of which was obtained by The Forum, was sent via e-mail Thursday night. Any merger would require approval of “definitive agreements” from the boards of both health systems before it could become binding, the e-mail stated.

If approved, “it is anticipated that the earliest a merger transaction could take place would be this fall,” the message said.

“If both the boards approve a letter of intent, there will be further communication with more detail regarding the structure of the proposed merger,” Gilbertson’s message said. “This will be a time for further discussion with physicians and associates regarding the terms of the proposed merger.”

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