Intermountain Healthcare, Sanford Health announced plans to merge

Intermountain Healthcare and Dakotas-based Sanford Health announced plans to merge Monday after signing a letter of intent to develop a strategic partnership. The deal is expected to close in 2021, pending state and federal approval.

Both are faith-based and the largest private employers in their respective states. Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare is at the forefront of value-based and digital health care, while Sanford Health is a leading provider in the delivery of rural health care. 


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

If the merger succeeds, the two firms will have a combined workforce of 89,000 people and would operate 70 hospitals. The companies have a combined 435 clinics in seven states, 233 senior care locations in 24 states and provide health insurance to 1.1 million people. 

Intermountain Health’s reach, reputation and larger insurance company has been Sanford’s missing piece, CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft said in a call with reporters.

“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,” Krabbenhoft said. “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.”

Both companies hope the merger will give a boost to the health companies’ shared mission of implementing value-based strategies of coordinated care, increased use of telehealth and digital health services.

Marc Harrison, M.D., president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, will be president and CEO of the combined organization, which will be based in Salt Lake City.  Krabbenhoft will serve as president emeritus and the company will have corporate offices in Sioux Falls, S.D.