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Essentia looking to purchase CommonSpirit Health facilities

DULUTH, MN -- Essentia Health leaders are working toward buying another health system operating in the Midwest.

According to Essentia spokespeople Friday, Essentia leaders have signed a letter of intent to purchase some CommonSpirit Health facilities.

This includes CHI St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck, North Dakota and 13 critical access hospitals.

It would also include associated clinics and living communities currently operated by CommonSpirit and CHI Health at Home home health and hospice agencies.

“This is an exciting opportunity to extend our passion for excellence in rural health care to additional communities,” Essentia CEO David Herman said. “We’re grateful that our shared Benedictine heritage and values form a strong foundation for our ongoing discussions. It would be an honor to carry on the rich tradition of high-quality Catholic health care evident today in these CHI facilities.”

Essentia spokespeople say if the process moves forward, they could acquire CHI by the summer of 2021.

Essentia Health did not immediately disclose the terms of the ongoing negotiations or a possible price point.

CommonSpirit, which was formed when Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) combined with Dignity Health in 2019, also operates facilities in Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

During the pandemic, Essentia Health was forced to lay off more than 900 employees across its network, citing COVID-19 financial problems.

Some of those employees have since returned to work.

Essentia is also in the middle of a nearly $1 billion expansion project.

Briggs LeSavage

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