HealthPartners-Park Nicollet merger was years in the making

  • Article by: JACKIE CROSBY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 31, 2012 - 11:15 PM

HealthPartners and Park Nicollet CEOs point to a relationship that dates back to the early 1990s.

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webfootAug. 31, 12 9:33 PM

Get ready for higher premiums and higher costs!

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birchtreeAug. 31, 1210:13 PM

Whatever happened to anti-trust laws? We pay more to fly than anyone else in the U.S. because of the Northwest/Delta merger. Now we will get less actual health care and pay higher premiums because of this merger. The free enterprise system only works with competition. But politicians are in the pockets of large corporations and have tilted the playing field in their favor - to the detriment of the American people.

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ak13741Aug. 31, 1210:22 PM

Same scenario as St. Mary's and Fairview corporation. Look at that mess!

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joeafrancoSep. 1, 12 5:18 AM

Agree with the article that this merger has been in the works for years. No layoffs are needed as Park Nicollet started laying off in 2009. They had also put a number of project on hold back then--updates to EPIC system at that time.

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teddygSep. 1, 12 8:42 AM

Too bad. Park Nicollet was seemingly starting to hit its stride with the whole outcomes thing. There is no question that MN health costs, already in the top quintile in the US will go even higher as administrative costs shoot up after mergers like this.

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tqbradySep. 1, 12 5:08 PM

A correction to your article: Although Park-Nicollet Clinc (or St. Louis Park Medical Center as it was known at the time) was the first physician group provider in the MedCenters Health Plan network, it did not "run an HMO" as you stated. At the time, it was not even a non-profit organization so it could not have run an HMO under state law. The history of Park-Nicollet over the years is an interesting one and the proposed merger with Health Partners would be the culmination of several chapters of its evolution, most of which were driven by its need to move upstream in the revenue flow for healthcare services. Most have not succeeded for the long-term and I suspect that Park Nicollet Clinic has drained Methodist Hospital's balance sheet since its 1996 merger while driving non-Park Nicollet physicians to seek other hospitals in the community to provide for their patients. Hence, Park-Nicollet's economic motive for this proposed merger. In that regard, it was interesting to note that Park-Nicollet's year-over-year revenue was flat even though Health Partners was channelling more business to it in anticipation of a merger. I think the parties have a steep hill to climb in gaining approval from the AG and others who so recently caused Alina and Medica to undo their merger. A Health Partners/Park-Nicollet merge raises even more serious questions of undo market concentration. Given that Health Partners and other local HMOs have been "price-shadowing" indemnity health insurers for decades, there is virtually no evidence that they have managed or controlled costs for their customers. I would be very surprised if this breezes through the approval process without significant restrictions or requirements . . . if it is approved at all.

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