Good Samaritan and Sanford Hospital System Agree to Merge

The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, one of the largest non-profit senior care providers, on Tuesday announced a vote to approve a merger with Sanford Health, a not-for-profit health system.

Good Samaritan has more than 200 locations across the U.S. with about 80 skilled nursing facilities, while Sanford has 44 hospitals. Both organizations are based in Sioux Falls, S.D. Good Samaritan has 19,000 employees in 24 states, while Sanford has 28,000 employees in nine states.

“We’re part of a growing movement and intellectual expectation that long-term care (LTC) and acute care will come together,” Kelby Krabbenhoft, president and CEO of Sanford, said at a press briefing held on Tuesday and streamed on Facebook Live. “It’s actually happening, and now we’re going to be judged on how successfully we do it.”


The two not-for-profits signed an affiliation agreement on Tuesday after Good Samaritan’s member base approved restated articles of incorporation.

As a result, both organizations were able to sign the agreement combining the organizations, pending the completion of a regulatory review.

After a protracted merger exploration process, the governing board of each organization had previously approved the affiliation, according to a press release announcing the deal. The two organizations expect to combine into a single enterprise on January 1, 2019, to be known as the Good Samaritan Society of Sanford Health.


Employees of Good Samaritan will be employed by a separate entity under the Sanford umbrella, Krabbenhoft said at the press briefing.

Sign of the times?

The Good Samaritan deal comes a few months after Welltower Inc. (NYSE: WELL), one of the largest U.S. health care real estate investment trusts (REITs), reached an agreement to acquire Quality Care Properties (NYSE: QCP) in a joint venture with non-profit health system ProMedica; the latter company is also set to take over the operations of skilled nursing giant HCR ManorCare, with the Welltower-ProMedica joint venture owning the associated real estate.

Welltower CEO Tom DeRosa stressed that ProMedica’s status as a large health system played into the decision to move forward that transaction.

Krabbenhoft and David Horazdovsky, president and CEO of Good Samaritan, were vague on the specifics of the new entity, though leaders could consider expanding into locations where neither organization currently operates, Horazdovsky said.

Rural health care delivery, both in terms of acute and long-term care, is also an area where the combined organization could make some moves, both CEOs suggested in response to a question on the decline of LTC in rural areas.

But both Krabbenhoft and Horazdovsky stressed the importance of care that runs the gamut of patient needs.

“It’s been exciting working with Kelby and Sanford … to have these two large organizations right here in Sioux Falls, and to envision together what we think will change health care delivery in this country by really providing a lifespan of care to those that we serve,” Horazdovsky said.

Written by Maggie Flynn

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