BILLINGS - Billings Clinic announced Thursday that the hospital's merger with Kalispell-based Logan Health will become official on Sept. 1.
The merger was announced in February, and at the time officials set a goal of this summer to complete the plan. Hospital officials said in a press release that the regulatory review of the proposed combination of the two organizations has passed and both are committed to moving forward together.
“Billings Clinic and Logan Health have a shared commitment to the people of Montana and Wyoming,” Billings Clinic CEO Clint Seger, MD, said in the press release. “We are alike in many ways and have a collective vision for what we can do together to close care gaps, recruit and retain talent, develop solutions to meet patient needs and advance our legacies of clinical excellence and serving our communities. We will be focused on connecting the rural communities between us and around us to improve care coordination while striving to keep care as locally as possible.”
The merger, as well as Billings Clinic's efforts to become designated a Level 1 trauma center, were questioned earlier this year when Billings Clinic announced deep budget cuts.
The press release states the new, combined healthcare system will provide the capacity for the hospitals to work together in several focus areas:
- Improving quality, safety and service
- Expanding the depth and breadth of primary and specialty care
- Providing an inter-connected rural trauma and emergency transport program
- Combining each organization’s longstanding commitment to mental health
- Creating a diverse and welcoming organization where everyone feels informed, heard and cared for; and engaging in an impactful approach for addressing population health; health equity and health disparities, including underserved populations and tribal partners
- Continuing to more effectively reinvest in advancing care and services for the communities we serve
- Enhancing recruitment and retention of excellent physicians, nurses, clinicians and other key staff
- Growing medical education, research opportunities and innovation
There will be minimal changes in how each organization operates on day one, the press release states, and integration teams will work to unify the organizations. The integration work is expected to take 12 to 24 months.
Combined, the two medical care organizations include 9,000 employees, 3,000 employees at affiliated organizations, 1,200 physicians and advanced practice providers, 1,000 hospital beds, 600 long-term care and assisted living beds, 80 clinical specialties, 2,750,000 annual clinic visits, 90,000 surgeries performed annually, 3,500 annual air ambulance and EMS transports, and 200,000 annual Emergency Department visits, according to hospital officials.
A 10-member board composed of five individuals from the current Billings Clinic Board and five from the current Logan Health Board will oversee the combined new organization. The board chair will be from Billings Clinic and the Vice Chair from Logan Health, the press release states.
Logan Health President and CEO Craig Lambrecht, MD will serve as Chief Executive Officer, and Billings Clinic CEO Clint Seger, MD will serve as Chief Physician Executive.
Lambrecht and Seger have deep roots in the Montana-Wyoming region and are committed to enhancing rural health, the press release states. Lambrecht is an Emergency Medicine physician whose great-grandfather homesteaded near Havre and brings many years of physician CEO experience to the new health system.
“I am confident that an independent, Montana-based health system will have a significant positive impact on our region,” Lambrecht said in the press release. “By coming together, our combined organization will continue to be our region’s leader in rural health, addressing health equity and disparities, enhancing access to a broader range of services, and improving health and well-being of our communities. This is a milestone in our region’s history, and we are very excited to enhance the delivery of health care to patients in Montana and Wyoming.”
Seger is a Family Medicine physician who grew up in Buffalo, Wyo., and practiced as a hospitalist physician in Cody before moving into leadership roles at Billings Clinic.