UnityPoint Health won’t merge with Sanford


Officials from UnityPoint Health say a merger with Sanford Health will not come to fruition.

UnityPoint issued a statement Tuesday evening about the potential partnership not moving forward. The health systems had been in discussions since June.

“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,” said Kevin Vermeer, president and CEO of UnityPoint Health. “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.”

In a statement to the Des Moines Register, Sanford Health CEO Kelby Krabbunhoft 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.”

The potential merger was pursued after an external consulting company suggested the Midwest health care giants join forces. If the UnityPoint and Sanford had merged, it would have created $11 billion in revenue and been ranked in the top 15 of nonprofit health care organizations in the country.

Sanford is based in Sioux Falls, S.D., and has opened 482 clinics and 44 hospitals throughout the Dakotas and into Iowa and Minnesota. The nonprofit health care organization is also dedicated to curing Type 1 diabetes through research conducted in The Sanford Project in Sioux Falls. The organization was named after billionaire T. Denny Sanford who provided $1 billion in gifts.

UnityPoint Health operates 280 clinics and 32 hospitals in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. The nonprofit serves the Marshalltown hospital and other operations in the Des Moines and Waterloo area. UnityPoint moved into Marshalltown after it purchased the hospital from Central Iowa Healthcare which was going through bankruptcy in 2017.