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Partnership Agreement Announced

In a bold move meant to advance the care and services provided to the disability community, Courage Center and Allina Health announced today that their boards of directors have approved a proposed merger between the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute and Courage Center. The integration of these longstanding pillars of the health care rehabilitation community will create a leading, integrated service for individuals and families dealing with disabilities.  The organizations will immediately pursue integration planning which should culminate in an official merger sometime in the spring of 2013.

Sister Kenny and the Courage Center have long histories of advocating for the health and well-being of people with disabilities. The partnership will allow full integration of the two organizations with individuals and families benefitting from streamlined, coordinated services. This will be a uniquely comprehensive continuum of care including inpatient, outpatient and community-based rehabilitation services designed to keep people healthy and independent.  Courage Center’s clinical programs will merge with those of Sister Kenny, and the organizations will look for opportunities to integrate clinical care, community-based services, research, innovation, public policy and advocacy.

“We are thrilled about what the coordinated strengths of our organizations will mean to the community,” said Penny Wheeler, MD, chief clinical officer of Allina Health. “By combining the two, we blend the clinical care expertise of Sister Kenny with the exceptional programming, advocacy and community programs of Courage Center. In doing so, we can coordinate care, improve health and positively affect the lives of people with disabilities.”

“As an advocate on behalf of people with disabilities, we recognize that one of the challenges our clients face is a fragmented system of rehabilitation services that is hard for both clients and providers to navigate. By partnering to create a more seamless experience, we will make it easier for our clients to get the care they need, which is key to improving outcomes,” said Jan Malcolm, chief executive officer of Courage Center.

The overarching objective of this partnership is to succeed in meeting the “triple aim” challenge of health reform: improving the experience of care, improving the health of people with a broad range of permanent or episodic disabilities, and reducing the per capita costs of health care for this population.

“The integration of these two leading programs offers individuals living with disabilities the benefits of a coordinated model of care that combines great clinical care with supportive social services and broader health and wellness programming,” Dr. Wheeler continued.

Both organizations are committed to research and innovation in rehabilitation and health and wellness services, including new care models. The new partnership will continue to advocate on a broad range of policy issues to advance the lives of people with disabilities. 

About Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

The Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute specializes in treating people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, cancer, sports-related injuries and neurological or muscular disorders.  Each year more than 70,000 people receive services at nine Allina Health hospitals and 24 outpatient locations. 

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90 clinics, 11 hospitals, 15 pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services that provide hospice care, oxygen and home medical equipment, and emergency medical transportation services. Learn more at