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Logan Health and Billings Clinic merger will be official on Sept. 1

by TAYLOR INMAN Daily Inter Lake
| August 15, 2023 7:00 AM

Logan Health and Billings Clinic will come together as a new health care system Sept. 1, with Logan Health President and CEO Dr. Craig Lambrecht expected to serve as its chief executive officer.

The new organization, as yet unnamed, aims to elevate and coordinate care for communities in Montana and Wyoming, according to a release from Logan Health on Aug. 3.

The proposal to combine the two organizations was met with approval by regulators and the new health care system will work through the necessary logistics in the next year or two, officials said.

Billings Clinic CEO Dr. Clint Seger will serve as the organization’s chief physician executive. It will be governed by a 10-member board, composed of five individuals each from the current Billings Clinic and Logan Health leadership boards.

There will be minimal changes in how each organization operates on day one, officials said. Integration teams at both health care systems will look for opportunities to improve quality, access, coordinated care, as well as patient, provider and employee experience.

The integration aims to provide an inter-connected rural trauma and emergency transport program, combine each organization’s commitment to mental health, enhance recruitment and retainment opportunities and grow medical education and research opportunities, officials said in the release. There is also an objective to create a diverse and welcoming organization that focuses on addressing health disparities in underserved populations.

“I am confident that an independent, Montana-based health system will have a significant positive impact on our region,” Lambrecht said in a statement. “By coming together, our combined organization will continue to be our region’s leader in rural health … 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.”

The regional hospital systems in February revealed plans to join forces, creating an entirely new health care organization that would service a large portion of Montana. A few months later, Billings Clinic announced pay cuts and a hiring freeze, among other efforts to trim expenses.

In a June interview with the Daily Inter Lake, Lambrecht responded to concerns voiced about the integration with Billings Clinic. He said the financial and workforce challenges affecting most health care systems in the U.S. “are very real” and believes the two organizations could better approach these issues together.

Logan Health serves 20 counties in Montana. The organization consists of six hospitals, more than 68 provider clinics and a host of other health care services.

Billings Clinic is Montana’s largest independent health care system and serves Montana, Wyoming and the western Dakotas. It has a 336-bed hospital, a Level II trauma center, more than 20 regional partnerships, manages 18 Critical Access Hospitals and have four regional branch clinics.