Intermountain, Sanford Health Announce Merger Agreement

Oct. 26, 2020
The deal, expected to close 2021, will result in a 70-hospital system

The Salt Lake City, Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare and Sanford Health, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., have signed a letter of intent to develop a strategic partnership.

The boards of both organizations recently approved a resolution to support moving forward with the due diligence process, according to officials who made a joint announcement on Oct. 26. The organizations will enter this activity with the goal to sign a merger agreement “that will bring both health systems together as a model for improving access to high value healthcare across the U.S.” The merger is expected to close in 2021 pending federal and state approvals.

The combined organization will employ more than 89,000 people, and operate 70 hospitals, many in rural communities. It will operate 435 clinics across seven states, provide senior care and services in 366 locations in 24 states, and insure 1.1 million people. Currently, Sanford’s patient care centers are located in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, while Intermountain principally serves Utah, Nevada and Idaho. The organization will have headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, and corporate offices in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, officials noted.

“Intermountain and Sanford have a shared vision of the future of healthcare and have the aligned values needed to better serve more communities across the nation,” Marc Harrison, M.D., president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, said in a statement. “This merger enables our organizations to move more quickly to further implement value-based strategies and realize economies of scale. Through coordinated care, increased use of telehealth and digital health services, we will make healthcare more affordable for our communities.”

Kelby Krabbenhoft, president and CEO of Sanford Health, added, “Today we’re marking another major milestone in our long history of working to change the course of healthcare across the globe. By coming together with Intermountain Healthcare, we will improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve and strengthen our impact in healthcare delivery and value.”

Harrison, a pediatric critical care specialist, will be president and CEO of the combined organization while Krabbenhoft will serve as president emeritus. Both organizations will continue to operate under their current names for the foreseeable future.

Harrison was interviewed about the merger by the Minnesota-based Brainerd Dispatch, and noted that Intermountain “will continue to invest in its system, in brick and mortar and especially in digital and telehealth platforms. ‘The right investments will be made,’” Harrison said. According to the report, both patient care system executives pointed out that each of their organizations serve areas covering vast territories, with a few metropolitan centers, but largely sparsely populated rural areas that benefit from extensive telehealth offerings.

In a tweet thread on the merger, Intermountain stated the organizations will have a “relentless focus” on improving value-based care, especially in rural areas, and share a similar commitment to addressing population health by using integrated data, advanced clinical research and operational improvements.

With a relentless focus on improving value-based care especially in rural areas, @Intermountain and @SanfordHealth will use the combined strength to influence lower prices with insurers. Invest in more healthcare services available to more people in our communities. (3/8).

— Intermountain (@Intermountain) October 26, 2020