Sanford Health seeks merger with Iowa’s UnityPoint

State News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota-based Sanford Health and Iowa’s UnityPoint Health said Friday that the two health care providers plan to merge, in an agreement that would create a sprawling health system in the northern Plains and Midwest.

If the merger is approved by regulators, it could be finalized by the end of this year.

The providers said in a joint statement that the merger would place the company among the top 15 largest nonprofit health systems nationwide. The new organization would employ more than 83,000 staff members, 2,600 physicians and have more than $11 billion in revenue.

UnityPoint operates 32 hospitals and has relationships with 280 physician clinics throughout Iowa, western Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Sanford Heath’s organization includes 44 hospitals, 1,400 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and nine countries.

“We believe that in the very near future, fully integrated health systems will drive greater value through affordable options for high-quality health care to patients, governments and employers,” Sanford President and CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft said in a statement. “The combination of Sanford and UnityPoint will help both organizations better meet this need, creating a new system positioned for continued growth across a broad geography.”

UnityPoint President and CEO Kevin Vermeer said both organizations share a commitment to exceptional patient care and a vision for transforming and sustaining health in communities.

“Working together, we will find new ways to broaden access to care – beyond the traditional settings – and take greater responsibility for the health of the populations we serve,” Vermeer said.

Some details of the merger are still being worked out, but the two systems agreed Krabbenhoft would be the new company’s president and CEO and Vermeer would serve as senior executive vice president. A new governing board would be created with representatives from both systems and unaffiliated members with industry experience.

Friday’s announcement comes 10 years after Sanford merged with North Dakota-based MeritCare. The system has seen steady growth, partly due to nearly $1 billion in gifts from South Dakota banker and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford.

Sanford Health merged with the Good Samaritan Society last year. Following that deal, Sanford had revenues of about $7.5 billion. UnityPoint has about $4.4 billion in revenues.

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