Sanford, Fresh Off Good Samaritan Merger, Eyes $1B Chicago Health System

Non-profit hospital system Sanford Health is on track to complete a merger with a skilled nursing provider by fall, and a recent report hints that the operator isn’t done expanding.

The Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford could soon announce a merger with a $1 billion health system based in Chicago, CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft teased to SiouxFalls.Business.

“I’m really looking forward to being able to name them,” Krabbenhoft told the publication, adding that the company consists of “very good friends and allies” and predicting that a board vote could come as soon as the end of the year.

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The report also noted that the unnamed merger target has a health system concentrated on the city’s west side.

A spokesperson for Sanford declined to elaborate on Krabbenhoft’s comments to Skilled Nursing News.

Should Sanford move forward with the plan to expand in Chicago, it would mark the second major push this year: Earlier this month, the non-profit cleared the latest hurdle in its merger with the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, a non-profit senior care provider with about 80 skilled nursing facilities. With regulatory approval secured, the two firms are slated to complete their merger by the end of October.

“We’re part of a growing movement and intellectual expectation that long-term care and acute care will come together,” Krabbenhoft said at a press briefing held after the two parties approved articles of incorporation back in June. “It’s actually happening, and now we’re going to be judged on how successfully we do it.”

Sanford operates 44 hospitals, with 28,000 employees across nine states; Good Samaritan counts 19,000 workers in 24 states.

It’s been an active year for non-profit providers in the skilled nursing space, with hospital operator ProMedica snapping up troubled chain HCR ManorCare earlier this summer. The leaders involved in that deal — which also saw the non-profit ProMedica form a joint venture with real estate investment trust (REIT) Welltower Inc. (NYSE: WELL) to purchase the property associated with ManorCare’s SNFs — expressed a similar desire to break down the barriers between care settings along the continuum.

“We are focused on tearing down the walls between care delivery channels to provide simpler navigation across the care continuum, along with greater value,” ProMedica CEO Randy Oostra said when the deal closed.

Written by Alex Spanko

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