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Presybyterian, UnityPoint call off $11 billion merger

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | October 16, 2023
Business Affairs
Presybyterian Healthcare Services and UnityPoint Health have called off their proposed $11 billion merger.
Presbyterian Healthcare Services, in New Mexico, and UnityPoint Health, headquartered in Wisconsin, are no longer planning to merge into an $11 billion healthcare system.

The two announced the news on October 11, giving no reason for why they canceled their plans. Had the merger gone forward, it would have created a healthcare system of 40 hospitals and hundreds of clinics spanning New Mexico, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois; with 40,000 staff members, including 3,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians.

“We believe this decision allows us to better meet the needs of our patients, team members, communities, and key stakeholders. As we move forward, UnityPoint Health is focused on identifying new, innovative ways to deliver low-cost, high-quality care to those we serve,” said UnityPoint Health Board Chair and registered nurse Sally Gray in a statement.

UnityPoint is one of the largest healthcare systems in Iowa and runs 20 regional hospitals there and in Illinois and Wisconsin, as well as 19 community network hospitals and over 400 clinics. Presbyterian, a private not-for-profit health system, operates nine hospitals in New Mexico and employs over 900 providers, and has a statewide health plan.

Back in March, the two signed an agreement to explore a possible merger, which involved evaluating where they could invest more in clinical excellence, digital innovation, workforce development, and value-based care, and how they could lower administrative costs. Both have no overlapping markets and would have retained their brands and provided care locally, potentially helping them to avoid the same antitrust scrutiny experienced in other large mergers.

“We will continue to explore new ways to address these structural shifts in healthcare so we can invest in clinical innovation and our workforce. We will remain focused on building a sustainable path forward to serve New Mexicans for generations to come,” said Presbyterian CEO Dale Maxwell.

UnityPoint previously was in talks to merge with Sanford Health, in South Dakota, into an $11 billion system, but those fell through in late 2019, reported the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

A day after the announcement, UnityPoint announced that president and CEO Clay Holderman, who served in these roles since January 2021, had left “to explore other professional opportunities” and would be replaced by Scott Kizer, who has served as a co-president since July and previously was the health system’s chief compliance officer.

“We’re confident in Scott’s leadership going forward, and we remain committed to showing our people, patients, and communities how much they matter,” said Gray.

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