WILLMAR -- Three health care systems are forming a new partnership to better serve West Central and Southwest Minnesota.

Carris Health is a partnership between Rice Memorial Hospital, ACMC Health and CentraCare Health, designed to strengthen health care in the region and make sure each organization has local control to make decisions that are best for the community they serve.

The agreement will help keep patients local, create a structure for working together and position the organizations for success in a rapidly changing health care industry.

CentraCare Health President and CEO Ken Holmen says:

"together we can improve the quality of care and overall health of people in the region and reduce the cost of health care. It will take some time, but we have the right partners in place for a bright future for healthcare."

The agreement will officially go into effect on Monday.