BLOOMINGTON (AP) HealthPartners and Park Nicollet Health Services today announced the completion of their agreement to combine their organizations. Effective today, the two organizations are officially joined under the name HealthPartners and a single, consumer-governed board of directors.

"Park Nicollet and HealthPartners, each formed through many strong partnerships and combinations over the decades, have shared a common mission for years,” said Mary Brainerd, president and CEO. “With this combination, we intend to focus on making people healthier, making health care more affordable, and creating the best possible experiences for patients and members."

“As our two, thriving cultures become one, we expect to learn much from one another as we put our hearts, minds and passion to work on behalf of our patients and members,” said David Abelson, MD, president, Park Nicollet HealthPartners Care Group. “We will work to improve health in our community and help the people we serve live their lives to the fullest. After many months of imagining this partnership, we’re delighted to begin it today.”

The new, consumer-governed organization is an integrated health care and financing organization serving more than 1.4 million medical and dental members and more than a million patients, primarily in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. The combination will provide stronger coordination of patient care, shared planning and capital investments, and new links between care and insurance that will lead to more transparency, choice and value for consumers.

Patients and members won’t notice any disruption or immediate change with the closing of the combination.HealthPartners and Park Nicollet care facilities will continue to operate under their current names and patients of either clinic system will have the same access and coverage under their health plan as they did before.HealthPartners Clinics and Park Nicollet Clinics both accept most insurance. In addition, HealthPartners health plan members will continue to have a wide network of providers to choose from.

The HealthPartners Board of Directors is made up of 23 individuals, including elected members and patients. Members of the Board of Directors include: Tom Brinsko, Judith S. Corson, Luz Maria Frias, John E. Gherty, Susan Hoyt, Thomas Jones, M.D., Donald M. Lewis, James J. Malecha, Kendrick B. Melrose, Jeff Mendeloff, M.D., Ruth A. Mickelsen, Teresa M. Morrow, Brian Rank, M.D., Laura Schmaltz Oberst, Eric Schned, M.D., Eliot A. Seide, Greg Strong, Richard E. Struthers, Chris Tashjian, M.D., Kenneth L. Thome, Ann L. Wynia, Abelson and Brainerd.

About HealthPartners
Founded in 1957, the HealthPartners ( ) family of health care companies serves more than 1.4 million medical and dental health plan members nationwide. It includes a multispecialty group practice of more than 1,700 physicians; five hospitals; 44 primary care clinics; 18 urgent care locations; 20 dental clinics; and numerous specialty practices in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation providing care, coverage, research and education to improve the health of members, patients and the community. HealthPartners is the top-ranked commercial health plan in Minnesota and is also ranked among the top 30 plans in the nation according to NCQA's Health Insurance Plan Rankings 2012-13 - private.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved)