Medical merger creates Courage Kenny rehab center

Stretching at practice
From left, teammates Josie Aslakson, Rose Hollermann, Steve Eischens and Ziggy Norberg stretch during a wheelchair basketball practice at Courage Center in Golden Valley in December 2011. The center is merging with Minneapolis-based Sister Kenny Institute to become the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Two Minnesota giants in medical rehabilitation officially merge on Saturday and will adopt a new name.

The Golden Valley-based Courage Center and the Minneapolis-based Sister Kenny Institute are now the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of the Allina Health System.

Looming changes in the health care landscape, particularly those associated with the federal health care overhaul, provided the catalyst for the merger, said interim president Jan Malcolm.

"We both saw the opportunity to be more successful for responding to that reform environment together," Malcolm said.

The new organization will combine Sister Kenny's expertise in treating people immediately after an accident or illness with Courage Center's ongoing community-based programs that help people return to independent living, Malcolm said. The organization said it will serve at least 80,000 patients annually.

The merger is a big step for all the organizations involved, she said: "We have wonderful legacies that we're very, very proud of, and we think we can build on those legacies together. I think it's a very big step for Allina Health as well."

The two organizations will also combine their foundations into the Courage Kenny Foundation.

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