SIOUX CITY -- UnityPoint Health, the operator of Sioux City's UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's hospital, and Sanford Health are no longer moving forward with a merger.
According to a statement released Tuesday by UnityPoint Health, after significant consideration, the health system "will not be moving forward with a formal partnership with Sanford Health."
"I'm tremendously proud of our organization and we will continue to work tirelessly to evaluate any avenue that improves the delivery of health care," Kevin Vermeer, president and CEO of UnityPoint Health, said in the statement. "Sanford is an exceptional organization with a bright future ahead. UnityPoint Health moves forward with strong roots and a fierce commitment to improving the experience of the people we serve."
On June 28, UnityPoint Health and Sanford Health announced that they had signed a letter of intent to merge brands, creating a joint health provider across a large slice of the Midwest and Great Plains. At that time, leaders intended for the transaction to be completed, pending regulatory reviews, by the end of 2019.
Kelby Krabbenhoft, Sanford Health's president and CEO, said in statement released Tuesday that executive management and physicians "worked diligently" for 18 months to provide a merger recommendation, but conversations regarding a potential merger with UnityPoint Health have ended.
"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," he said.
Sioux Falls-based Sanford, which bills itself as one of the largest healthcare systems in the United States, includes 44 hospitals and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and nine countries. Some 1,400 physicians are affiliated with the system.
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Des Moines-based UnityPoint, the nation's fifth-largest nondenominational health system and one of the state's largest medical providers, operates more than 280 clinics, 29 hospitals in metropolitan and rural communities and home care services in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.
The merged company would have seen as much as $11 billion in operating revenue, according to a statement released when the merger was first announced, and would have been among the 15 largest nonprofit health systems in the United States.
UnityPoint-St. Luke's, as it exists today, is the result of repeated mergers over the past century. One of Sioux City's earliest hospitals, Samaritan Hospital (formed in 1873 as Samaritan Home) merged in 1925 with St. John's Hospital, an institution dating back to 1908, to form Methodist Hospital. In 1966, Methodist Hospital merged with Lutheran Hospital (which dated back to 1901) to form St. Luke's Medical Center.
In 2013, St. Luke's adopted the UnityPoint Health name amid a re-branding of the Iowa Health System.