SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A prominent Minnesota-based health system has gained a foothold in South Dakota.

Regional Health, headquartered in Rapid City, is joining the Mayo Clinic Care Network in January. It announced the affiliation last week in conjunction with its planned rebranding to Monument Health, also set to take place in January.

Regional Health employs more than 4,500 physicians and caregivers in 20 communities in western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming. It is comprised of five hospitals, eight specialty and surgical centers and more than 40 medical clinics and health care service centers.

While Regional Health remains independent, the new affiliation means the health system's doctors have "special access" to Mayo's knowledge, expertise and resources, it said, including giving its doctors a chance to consult directly with Mayo specialists.

"We are thrilled to be selected to join the Mayo Clinic Care Network. This is reflective of our focus on delivering quality, patient-centered care," said Regional Health President and CEO Paulette Davidson, in a news release.

The Mayo Clinic Care Network's relationship with Regional Health is its only one in South Dakota. It also maintains such an affiliation with Trinity Health and Altru Health System, both in North Dakota.

"Mayo Clinic did a comprehensive evaluation that included an in-depth review of the Regional Health (soon to be Monument Health) organization, its clinical and business practices, and its quality, safety and service efforts," said Dr. David Hayes, medical director for Mayo Clinic Care Network, in a news release. "Patients experience the confidence of being able to access Mayo’s medical expertise through their trusted local doctor, with the comfort and convenience of staying close to home."

Mayo Clinic Care Network is a collaborative program of Mayo Clinic. The network includes about 40 affiliates in 24 states and 8 countries. Mayo Clinic is a massive non-profit health system that operates in five states, with $12 billion in annual revenues and 63,000 employees.

Regional Health's rebranding to Monument Health includes an M-shaped, five-diamond logo meant to represent its five priorities: deliver high-quality care, provide a caring experience, be a great place to work, impact our communities and be here for generations to come.

"Our new name, Monument Health, will more accurately represent who we are to the region," said Davidson. "We are proud of our commitment to quality and safe clinical care to patients, and we want to continue that as a permanent part of our communities. We will have a lasting impact on future generations to come."