Intermountain Healthcare — one of the largest health systems in the country and among the most bullish on home-based care — is merging with Sanford Health.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based Sanford Health is a health system that operates across 24 states. The organization boasts 46 hospitals, 1,500 provider groups and 366 Good Samaritan Society senior care and living centers.
Founded in 1975, Salt Lake City, Utah-based not-for-profit Intermountain is the largest health care provider in the Intermountain West region. The system has 41,000 employees who work across 24 hospitals and 225 clinics, plus an in-house insurance division.
Intermountain unveiled its merger plans on Monday, announcing it has signed a letter of intent to develop a strategic partnership with Sanford Health. Intermountain President and CEO Marc Harrison pointed to Intermountain and Sanford’s aligned values when it comes to better serving communities as a key reason for the move.
“This merger enables our organizations to move more quickly to further implement value-based strategies and realize economies of scale,” Harrison said in a press release. “Through coordinated care, increased use of telehealth and digital health services, we will make health care more affordable for our communities.”
On Sanford Health’s end, the merger helps the organization accomplish its goal of further propelling health care affordability and accessibility, according to Kelby Krabbenhoft, the system’s president and CEO.
“Today, we’re marking another major milestone in our long history of working to change the course of health care across the globe,” Krabbenhoft said in a press release. “By coming together with Intermountain Healthcare, we will improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve and strengthen our impact in health care delivery and value.”
After the two organizations officially merge, the combined Salt Lake City-based entity will employ more than 89,000 people and operate 70 hospitals. It will additionally operate 435 clinics across seven states, delivering senior care in 233 locations in 24 states while also covering 1.1 million people through its health plan arm.
With both Krabbenhoft and Harrison touching on community-focused care in the merger announcement, in-home care will likely remain a huge priority for the combined enterprise. Intermountain has been aggressive in its efforts to push care further into the home over the past few years, with one of the biggest examples being the expansion of its Intermountain at Home program last year.
“Intermountain has been in the home space for quite a while through our home health and hospice business,” Rajesh Shrestha, chief operating officer of community-based care for Intermountain, told Home Health Care News in April 2019. “We’ve expanded that over the last couple of months with palliative care, some very early home-based primary care and a little bit of dialysis in the home as well. Essentially, we’re doubling down on moving upstream into patients’ homes.”
Prior to that expansion, Intermountain had also partnered with Lifesprk — a Minnesota-based in-home care provider — for the launch of Homespire, a holistic home care joint venture in Utah.
“With the addition of our Homespire joint venture, we’re able to wrap all of [our] services around with activities of daily living and social determinants of health work,” Shrestha said. “That package together, we feel, is the most comprehensive home-based program in the U.S., once this is all rolled out.”
In addition to those efforts, last year, the organization also launched a new Kidney Care Center designed to allow patients to receive at-home dialysis.
Most recently, Intermountain rolled out a hospital-level in-home care partnership with Castell, a health IT platform.
As far as leadership under the pending merger with Sanford, Harrison will serve as president and CEO of the combined organizations. Meanwhile, Krabbenhoft will serve as president emeritus.
The merger is slated to close in 2021. For now, the companies will retain their current names.