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December 18, 2012 06:18 AM

Avera Health Adds Pierre Hospital To Network

Avera Health is buying St. Mary's Healthcare Center in Pierre in a merger that will give the Sioux Falls-based health network a stronger foothold in central South Dakota.

The deal takes effect with the new year and includes St. Mary's 60-bed hospital in Pierre and a 10-bed affiliate hospital in nearby Gettysburg. Avera will have 31 hospitals in five states.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Both St. Mary's and Avera are affiliated with the Catholic church, and Avera vice president Daryl Thuringer says the acquisition technically is a transfer of sponsorship within the church.

St. Mary's has 425 employees in Pierre and 100 in Gettysburg. They will become part of the Avera network that includes 14,000 employees in about 100 communities.

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