Intermountain Healthcare, SCL Health unveil plans to form 33-hospital nonprofit system

Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare and Colorado-based SCL Health have announced plans to merge and form a 33-hospital system and health insurer.

Pending approvals, the nonprofit systems said they are aiming to finalize the agreement before the end of 2021 and combine in the early part of 2022.

The entity would employ more than 58,000 people and run 385 clinics across Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, Montana and Kansas. It would also provide health insurance coverage to roughly 1 million people.

“We’re excited to merge with SCL Health to usher in a new frontier for the health of communities throughout the Intermountain West and beyond,” said Marc Harrison, M.D., president and CEO of Intermountain, in a statement. “American healthcare needs to accelerate the evolution toward population health and value, and this merger will swiftly advance that cause across a broader geography. We’ll bring together the best practices of both organizations to do even more to enhance clinical excellence, transform the patient experience and support healthy lives.”

The merger joins a secular nonprofit with a Catholic faith-based organization, both of which treat a substantial number of patients living in rural regions.

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The systems said they will unite under the Intermountain Healthcare banner, but that SCL’s Catholic hospitals would retain their “distinctive Catholic names” and maintain their current practices.

The entity will be headquartered at Intermountain’s Salt Lake City home, they said, while SCL’s Broomfield, Colorado base would serve as a regional office. The organizations currently have no geographic overlap.

Intermountain’s Harrison will maintain his position as president and CEO of the combined organization. Lydia Jumonville, SCL’s president and CEO, will hold her current role during a two-year integration period and hold a position on the systems’ combined board.

“SCL Health and Intermountain are pursuing our merger from positions of strength,” said Jumonville, in a statement. “We are two individually strong health systems that are seeking to increase care quality, accessibility, and affordability. We will advance our missions and better serve the entire region together.” 

Intermountain is the larger of the pair with 25 hospitals, 225 clinics, 42,000 employees, its medical group and SelectHealth insurance company. It operates in Utah, Idaho and Nevada and, according to the new partners, will be contributing its “robust” digital health platform, “extensive” telehealth network and other expertise in value-based care and population health.  

SCL Health, meanwhile, has seven Catholic hospitals and an additional secular hospital. The organization employs 16,000 people and runs 160 physician clinics and other services across Colorado, Montana and Kansas. The announcement highlighted its experience running an integrated, multi-state healthcare organization in competitive markets.

The organizations are holding a press conference Thursday to provide additional details on the proposed merger.

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