Intermountain and Sanford announce plans to merge

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Intermountain Healthcare and Sanford Health announced Monday the two systems plan to merge, with an expected closing date of summer 2021.

The boards of both health systems voted last unanimously last week to approve the deal to form a new system, which will be called Intermountain Healthcare and will be headquartered in Intermountain’s current headquarters: Salt Lake City, Utah.

“This is in many ways a match made in heaven,” said Intermountain CEO Dr. Marc Harrison.

Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford’s CEO, Kelby Krabbenhoft, said at the news conference that he is 62 years old and plans to retire at 65.

“I couldn’t think of a better person to hand over what I’ve been overseeing for 25 years than Marc Harrison,” Krabbenhoft said. “He’s an incredible leader. He gets the national scope of the impact and the burden.”

Intermountain has 24 hospitals, more than 2,400 physicians, about 160 clinics, and a health plan called SelectHealth, according to their website. Sanford has 46 hospitals, 210 clinics, 208 senior living communities, 210,000 health plan members and almost 48,000 employees.

Together, the systems have about 100,000 “human beings working every day in the face of the pandemic,” Harrison said.

The two CEOs discussed their plans to improve access to care and lower costs at the news conference.

“That’s the why of this,” Krabbenhoft said. “There’s no mystery. There’s no hidden story. That’s the simple, straight-forward fact.”

Harrison emphasized the deal is about two strong organizations coming together.

This is not something that needs to happen,” he said. “This is not a turnaround. This is something that should happen for the future of American healthcare.”

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