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Intermountain merge
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Intermountain Healthcare and Sanford Health announce intent to merge

Intermountain Healthcare announces a merge is in the works with Sanford Health.

SALT LAKE CITY — A merge is in the works between Intermountain Healthcare and Sanford Health.

The companies said in a news conference Monday they expect the merger to take 9 months to finalize. It will be based in Salt Lake City, and with corporate headquarters in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where Sanford is now.


Gail Miller, current chair of the Intermountain Board, will serve as board chair for the merged organization.

Intermountain CEO Marc Harrison says it’s a match made in heaven. “These are two great organizations, with strong histories, that are economically and clinically very strong,” he said in a virtual news conference.

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

Intermountain said the combined organization will employ more than 89,000 people, and operate 70 hospitals. It will operate 435 clinics across seven states, provide senior care in 233 locations in 24 states, and insure 1.1 million people.

Benefits to the Intermountain merge 

Together they expect to strengthen rural medicine, digital health and telehealth services.

The president and CEO of Sanford Health, Kelby Krabbenhoft, said the combination will bring more affordable and accessible healthcare to their communities as well.

During the announcement, reporters asked if it would mean layoffs for either company. The CEOs said it should lead to more growth and opportunity instead.

“Their day to day should not change at all,” said Harrison.

The two men also answered questions about the current coronavirus pandemic.

Krabbenhoft said the big concern at the front end of the virus was preparedness and having enough equipment and supplies. “It was never about having enough ably trained people. We’ve got that today,” he said.

“Our people are showing up every day, taking care of it like we’ve taken care of everything else. We have over 1300 patients in our hospitals at Sanford today. We have 136 Covid patients. It’s our responsibility to take care of 1,300 people, not just some viruses that need palliative care,” he explained.

They said the way they are structured lets them move equipment or people to the hotspots, and respond on a bigger scale.

For example, Krabbenhoft said only about 10% of patients with the virus are on ventilator care, so the crisis in the beginning over ventilators dissipated quite quickly. But those ventilators could be moved from place to place if needed.

“Hopefully by [the merger], the pandemic will be in our rear-view mirror. Think of the good we can do not with 24 and 46 hospitals, but with 70 hospitals,” said Harrison.

“We are privileged to lead some of the finest human beings you can imagine as they address these issues with care and rigor and humanity,” he said.

Related: Two hospitals reach max ICU capacity due to COVID-19 patients