Leaders from both Moose Lake's Mercy Hospital and Essentia Health approved a final partnership plan.

Starting in early August, Essentia will assume operations at Mercy Hospital, bringing stability and more resources to Moose Lake, according to a news release from Essentia.

The plan has been in the works for several months. The Moose Lake hospital issued a request for proposal to several health care providers in fall 2019.

Its board of directors then voted to work with Essentia because the health care system had a similar mission and values. The board also cited Essentia's plans to grow primary and specialty care services as well as hospital and emergency care, the news release said.

“This rapidly evolving health care landscape requires new partnerships and strategic planning so that the needs of the communities we are privileged to serve can continue to be met,” Mercy CEO Mike Youso said in the release. “Our patients will benefit from personalized primary care services to advanced specialty care, all connected by a robust electronic health record that follows them anywhere in our organization.”

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Since selecting Essentia, integration teams from both health care facilities met twice a month to analyze the relationship during a due-diligence process, which is now complete.

The partnership would end the tax levy that supports the hospital, lowering taxes for some property owners in Carlton and Pine counties, according to the Cloquet Pine Journal.

The 2020 hospital levy is $500,000, which has been levied yearly since 2015, Kathy Korteum, Carlton County auditor/treasurer, told the Pine Journal. In 2020, Carlton County taxpayers had a 60% share of the taxes, which came out to $297,239.