Billings clinic sign
Credit: Billings Clinic

Officials at Billings Clinic and Kalispell’s Logan Health announced Wednesday that they were exploring a merger that would put two of the state’s largest independent nonprofit health care systems under one roof. 

In a press release, officials said they had signed a “non-binding letter of intent” to explore the unification of the two systems. If everything goes according to plan, a definitive agreement would be in hand by this spring, and the merger could be approved by the Federal Trade Commission this summer. 

“Our two organizations have a lot in common, as independent, physician-led health systems with deep roots in our communities and a commitment to rural health care,” said Billings Clinic CEO Dr. Clint Seger. “The health needs of our rural communities are unique, and we are excited to explore ways to serve our patients’ greatest challenges and raise the bar for health care in Montana and Wyoming together.” 

In an interview with the Montana Free Press Wednesday afternoon, Seger and his counterpart at Logan Health, Dr. Craig Lambrecht, said that they had been having preliminary discussions about merging for the last few months. On Wednesday, employees and the public were told about the plan. Seger said the executives also had discussions on Wednesday with representatives of Gov. Greg Ginaforte, the Legislature and Montana’s congressional delegation in Washington D.C. 

Lambrecht was quick to note that the two hospitals would be equal partners if the proposed deal goes through. He also said it was too early to know what the combined system would be called or where it would be headquartered, although it was possible that administrative duties would be split between Kalispell and Billings. 

Lambrecht said working through a global pandemic over the last few years has shown that collaboration is needed to face tough challenges.

“A collaborative environment is how you meet challenges, and I think that is exactly what the people of Montana and Wyoming need,” he said. 

A combined system would be able to provide better service to patients, the officials agreed. Seger said he was hopeful that the two systems would be able to grow to a point where Montana patients wouldn’t need to leave the state for specialized treatment. He also said that a combined hospital system would be able to better address one of health care’s biggest challenges at this time: building and retaining a workforce to meet demand. 

Billings Clinic is the state’s largest independent health system with clinics in Montana and Wyoming. It has more than 4,700 employees, including nearly 600 physicians. Logan Health, known until just a few years ago as Kalispell Regional Medical Center, is based in Flathead County but provides service to more than 20 counties through various remote clinics. It’s also closely affiliated with the hospital in Whitefish, which was previously known as North Valley Hospital. Logan Health has more than 4,500 physicians, nurses, health care professionals and support staff.

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Justin Franz is a freelance writer, photographer and editor based in Whitefish. Originally from Maine, he is a graduate of the University of Montana's School of Journalism and worked for the Flathead Beacon for nine years. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Seattle Times and New York Times. Find him at or follow him on Twitter.