Intermountain Healthcare announces ‘historic’ partnership with Sanford Health

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Intermountain Healthcare announced Monday morning that they are partnering with Sanford Health to develop a strategic partnership.

Intermountain Healthcare president and CEO, Marc Harrison, MD, made the announcement at a virtual press conference alongside Sanford Health CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft.

Krabbenhoft said that this ‘historic merger’ was voted unanimously to bring the two groups together. The merger is expected to close in 2021 pending federal and state approvals.

“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,” says Marc Harrison, M.D., president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare. “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.”

Leaders from both groups said they hope the new merger will reduce people’s monthly premiums and will be a healthcare ‘beacon and a model’ for people in their regions.

Both Harrison and Krabbenhoft said that Utah and the Dakotas have ‘a cultural match that is really quite powerful’.

“For more than two decades, we’ve been focused on good growth, with the goal of driving innovation and bringing more affordable and accessible healthcare to the communities we serve,” says Kelby Krabbenhoft, president, and CEO of Sanford Health. “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.”

The combined organization will employ more than 89,000 people, and operate 70 hospitals, many in rural communities. The new organization will operate 435 clinics across seven states, provide senior care in 233 locations in 24 states, and insure 1.1 million people.

When Harrison was asked if the merge would affect the Intermountain Healthcare workforce he said that it would not. “There is no anticipation that it will affect the Intermountain workforce. (With) respect to the physicians fighting the pandemic, their day to day will not change at all. They will keep working as we do our work to get to the starting line (of merging).”

Both organizations will continue to operate under their current names and will have headquarters in Salt Lake City and corporate offices in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Marc Harrison will be president and CEO of the combined organization. Kelby Krabbenhoft will serve as president emeritus.

The existing Board of Trustees from both systems will join to form a combined board. A new executive committee of the board will be created with equal representation from members of the Intermountain and Sanford Health boards. Gail Miller, current chair of the Intermountain Board, will serve as board chair for the merged organization.

Intermountain Healthcare currently is a team of more than 41,000 caregivers serving people primarily in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada. Sanford Health is currently headquartered in South Dakota. Their healthcare spans 24 states with 48,000 employees, 46 hospitals, 1,500 providers, and 366 Good Samaritan Society senior care and living centers.

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