MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — HealthPartners and Park Nicollet announced that they have agreed to combine their operations.

The two prominent non-profit health care organizations will unite “under a combined, consumer-governed board of directors, creating a 1,500-physician multispecialty group practice integrated with the HealthPartners health plan,” the release said.

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The organizations said they do not expect layoffs be a result of the combination.

“HealthPartners and Park Nicollet share the same mission: making people healthier, making health care more affordable, and creating the best possible experience for our patients and members,” said Mary Brainerd, HealthPartners’ president and CEO. “Separately, and in partnership, we’ve worked toward these goals in the Twin Cities area for decades. Together, we’ll be better able to pursue this mission across our region for the benefit of the people we serve.”

Brainerd will become the CEO of the new organization, called HealthPartners. Park Nicollet’s president and CEO, David Abelson, MD, will lead the combined organization’s care delivery system, named Park Nicollet HealthPartners Care Group.

“Park Nicollet and HealthPartners are two of the strongest local collaborators in support of our common goal of improving access to high-quality, compassionate care for people in the Twin Cities,” said Abelson. “In many ways, we’ve shown what’s possible when health care organizations work together to put people first. By combining our organizations, we’ll take that collaborative spirit much further, creating new potential for meeting the changing needs of our community at this important time in health care.”

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The agreement, pending regulatory review and closure procedures, will be effective Jan. 1, 2013.

The organizations said no money changed hands in the agreement.

It is not being called a merger because the agreement combines “two non-profit organizations under one new governing structure.” The organizations said both names will have the same place and presence in the market as before.

Also, patients of Park Nicollet will not have to have HealthPartners insurance.

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“Patients of either clinic will have the same access and coverage under their health plan as they did before,” the release said.