BEMIDJI, Minn.—The Federal Trade Commission has given antitrust clearance to Sanford Health's plans to acquire North Country Health Services, which is principally 118-bed North Country Regional Hospital. Sanford Health, which has headquarters in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Fargo, N.D., operates 14 Minnesota hospitals among 30 that it owns, leases and manages in Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas. The organizations announced in November that their boards had signed a letter of intent for North Country to join Sanford and that the deal would bring a commitment from Sanford to invest
$75 million over the next decade in North Country's facilities, recruitment and technology. The FTC granted the deal early termination under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, which requires notification and review of significant mergers and acquisitions. A Sanford spokesman said the deal is expected to close in March.