Sanford Center, the headquarters for Sanford Health, in northeast Sioux Falls. (Photo: Sioux Falls Business Journal)
A planned merger between Sanford Health and UnityPoint Health has been abruptly called off, ending months of effort to create one of the country’s largest health systems, Sanford announced Tuesday.
Sanford and UnityPoint Health announced in June that the two entities would join forces. The merger would have created the 15th largest nonprofit health system in the country, with more than $11 billion in revenue.
More: Sanford Health announces massive merger plan with Iowa’s UnityPoint Health
UnityPoint leaders were supposed to meet in Des Moines on Monday to hear an update on the merger that featured national speakers and Sanford CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft. But the meeting was canceled last week without explanation. The meeting followed efforts by Krabbenhoft to meet with stakeholders in the UnityPoint network.
In a statement, Krabbenhoft confirmed that conversations about merging with UnityPoint came to an end, pinning the blame for the fall through on UnityPoint.
“We were excited at the opportunity our combination would have provided to create a new health system of national prominence,” Krabbenhoft said. “The executive management teams and physicians worked diligently for 18 months to provide a merger recommendation to the boards. We are disappointed that the UnityPoint Health board failed to embrace the vision. Our focus now is on the patients and communities we serve and the 50,000 people working tirelessly to support them.”
A spokeswoman for UnityPoint did not immediately respond to a message or email.
UnityPoint is one of Iowa’s two dominant hospital systems, comprised of 280 physician clinics and 32 hospitals in Iowa, western Illinois and southern Wisconsin. The system has more than 30,000 employees.
Sanford has grown steadily in the decade since South Dakota philanthropist T. Denny Sanford started donating $1 billion in gifts to the Sioux Falls-based health system. A decade ago, Sanford merged with North Dakota-based MeritCare.
This is a developing story.
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