Sanford, Intermountain suspend merger plans

State News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The proposed merger between Sanford Health of Sioux Falls and Intermountain Health of Utah is indefinitely suspended, the two organizations announced Friday.

The departure of former Sanford Chief Executive Officer Kelby Krabbenhoft and a new CEO in Bill Gassen has prompted the suspension of discussions, a Sanford news release said.

“With this leadership change, it’s an important time to refocus our efforts internally as we assess the future direction of our organization,” Gassen said in the news release. “We continue to prioritize taking care of our patients, our people, and the communities we serve as we look to shape our path forward.”

Intermountain’s president and CEO Marc Harrison said in the news release that his organization was disappointed in Sanford’s decision but understood it.

The two organizations announced at intended merger on Oct. 26. It was expected to be completed in 2021.

Sanford Health announced on Nov. 24 that Krabbenhoft and the organization had mutually agreed to part ways. Krabbenhoft had been with Sanford for at least 25 years.

Krabbenhoft’s departure came a week after he sent out a controversial email to Sanford Health employees where he shared his recovery from COVID-19 and some opinions on masking.

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