Intermountain Healthcare and SCL Health have inked a letter of intent to merge into a $14 billion health system spanning across six states.
The two nonprofits will operate 33 hospitals and run 385 clinics across Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, Montana and Kansas when the deal is completed. The combined system will employ over 58,000 caregivers and provide health insurance to about one million, according to Fierce Healthcare
The deal is expected to be finalized and signed by the end of 2021, with the merger to close in early 2022, pending approvals. "American healthcare needs to accelerate the evolution toward population health and value, and this merger will swiftly advance that cause across a broader geography,” said Dr. Marc Harrison, president and CEO of Intermountain, in a statement.
The combined system is expected to be a model for faith-based and secular healthcare systems alike, with Intermountain offering its model of value-based care and population health expertise and SCL Health bringing experience in running an integrated healthcare organization across multiple states and in competitive markets.
Intermountain also brings a digital health platform and an extensive telehealth network. It previously planned to merge with Sanford Health last year into a system that was slated to operate 70 hospitals and 435 clinics across seven states. This deal, however, was put on hold
following the controversial exit of Sanford Health president and CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft, who resigned after telling staff that he did not need to wear a mask. It was then cancelled in March 2021, according to Becker’s Hospital Review
Intermountain and SCL Health currently serve adjacent, geographically separate areas. They plan to remain focused on their facilities’ pandemic-related needs while the merger moves forward. The resurgence of cases have left ICUs packed beyond capacity and hospitals with a lack of available beds. Like other providers, Intermountain made the difficult decision this past week to once again postpone elective and non-urgent procedures
for several weeks to free up room for patients most in need.
On an unrelated note, Intermountain also shut down 25 of its retail pharmacies
earlier this summer and transferred prescriptions and inventory to CVS pharmacy. It now operates only its home delivery pharmacy, special pharmacy, and its Primary Children’s Hospital retail pharmacy location.
Headquarters for the newly combined system will be in Salt Lake City, Utah, where Intermountain is situated. A regional office will be in Broomfield, Colorado, the home of SCL Health. Harrison will serve as president and CEO, while Lydia Jumonville, president and CEO of SCL Health, will retain her current position during a two-year integration, and be a board member of a newly combined board. The board of trustees and team leaders will be selected from both systems.
"We are two individually strong health systems that are seeking to increase care quality, accessibility, and affordability,” said Jumonville. “We will advance our missions and better serve the entire region together.”
While the organization will be named Intermountain Healthcare, SCL Health’s seven Catholic hospitals will retain their Catholic names and be run according to existing practices. The same does not apply to its one secular hospital in Colorado.