BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ Two health entities in central North Dakota are being recognized for collaborating in an effort to improve their bottom lines.

The Sakakawea Medical Center in Hazen and the Coal Country Community Center in Beulah have been chosen to receive the “Outstanding Rural Health Organization’’ award from the National Rural Health Association. Although the two flagship medical entities operate separately, the 18,000-member association is honoring them as it would a single institution.

The Bismarck Tribune ( reports the clinics have experienced financial healing since coming together as the country’s first hospital-clinic combination about four years ago.

They now have the same chief administrator and two mutual members on each of their boards, which share resources, training and health care providers.