Intermountain Healthcare (IHC) has announced its intentions to merge with SCL Health, another leading nonprofit healthcare organization, citing plans to create an optimized health system that offers more communities in Utah and other intermountain states improved access to affordable, high-quality healthcare.
The two healthcare organizations have signed a letter of intent for the merger, and according to IHC officials, upon completion of the merger, the new system will employ more than 58,000 caregivers, operate 33 hospitals, run 38 clinics across six states, and provide health insurance to approximately one million people.
“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.”
Up until now, IHC and SCL operated their healthcare services in adjacent areas and experienced no geographic overlap, but while IHC is a traditional secular healthcare organization, SCL is Catholic faith-based, and IHC officials hope the merger will become a model for how the two can come together and extend their missions to more patients.
According to the letter of intent, the new combined organization will use the name Intermountain Healthcare, and Dr. Marc Harrison of Intermountain will serve as the president and CEO of the fully merged organization.
Lydia Jumonville, president and CEO of SCL Health, will remain in her current role during a two-year integration period, as well as serve as a board member on a new combined board meant to steer the merger process and integration as smoothly as possible. IHC officials say membership in vital organization bodies, such as the newly integrated board of trustees and leadership team, will be selected from both systems.
Headquarters of the merged system will be in Salt Lake City.
The Messenger spoke to Sanpete County citizens to get their input on any concerns or hopes they have for what might come out of the merger for local residents who rely on IHC caregivers for their healthcare.
Tara Hannemeier of Indianola says her only concern is that the merger doesn’t turn the IHC healthcare system she and her family have been accustomed to into a larger and more cumbersome system.
“I just worry when companies and organizations merge, it can be harder to get things done,” Hannemeier said.
David LeBaron of Mt. Pleasant told the Messenger that he hopes the merger will improve services for more rural communities—especially Sanpete.
“It would be nice to see the hospital here in Mt. Pleasant have more to offer the people that go there,” LeBaron said. “Also, this area could use a lot more focus on mental health services, so if this merger really does mean expansion, let’s hope those areas get some attention.”
Jumonville said, “SCL Health and Intermountain are pursuing our merger from positions of strength. 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.”
A definitive agreement will be finalized by the end of 2021, and the merger is expected to close in early 2022, pending all approvals.