The Mayo Clinic has added Bismarck-based St. Alexius Medical Center to its national network of hospitals, its first medical center in that part of North Dakota and its 10th in the past year.

St. Alexius Medical Center was founded in 1885 and draws patients from central and eastern North Dakota, northern South Dakota and eastern Montana. It operates a 306-bed acute care medical center on its main campus, as well as specialty clinics and a medical equipment services business.

The Mayo Clinic Care Network is a non-ownership relationship, whose goal is to allow doctors and others involved in patient care to tap into Mayo Clinic's resources and expertise -- including data on treatment as well as online consulting with specialists -- which can allow patients with complex illnesses to continue receiving care in their hometowns.

Mayo says it has a "rigorous review process" before selecting members of the network, which now includes medical centers in eight states. Among its other hospitals are Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon, N.H.; NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Ill.; Sparrow Health System in Lansing, Mich.

Dr. Shiraz Hyder, vice president of medical affairs at St. Alexius, said the partnership will benefit the region's health care consumers.

"Now our providers will be able to tap into the expert resources available at Mayo Clinic, which means even more complex patients have this opportunity to be treated here at home in consultation with Mayo's experts," he said.

Jackie Crosby • 612-673-7335