ST. CLOUD - CentraCare Health is in talks with two Willmar-based health care organizations to create a new regional health care system.

ACMC Health and Rice Memorial Hospital have announced they have taken the initial steps to create a partnership with CentraCare Health. Rice Memorial Hospital board members and ACMC Health physicians voted this week to take this action.

ACMC Health President and CEO Dr. Cindy Firkins Smith says the partnership brings the expertise of all three organizations together.

All three organizations are working for final approval, with implementation next year.

The Rice hospital will remain city owned.

ACMC Health has over 180 physicians in west central and southwest Minnesota.

Rice Memorial Hospital is a Level 3 Trauma hospital with more than 900 staff members.

CentraCare Health has six hospitals, six nursing homes, senior housing in six communities, 19-clinics and three pharmacies.