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Sanford no longer pursuing Intermountain merger

Sanford Health is no longer pursuing a merger with Intermountain Healthcare, a Sanford spokesperson confirmed with Becker's Hospital Review March 15.

Bill Gassen, the CEO of Sanford Health, told Inforum the Sioux Falls, S.D.-based health system hasn't resumed merger discussions with Intermountain Healthcare since they were suspended in December 2020.

At the end of last year, Sanford indefinitely suspended discussions for its planned merger with Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Health because of the abrupt exit of Sanford's longtime president and CEO, Kelby Krabbenhoft.

Mr. Gassen, who took over Sanford's CEO role Nov. 24, 2020, told Inforum he will focus growth and investments in the states where the health system already operates: North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. Mr. Gassen told the news outlet his decision to no longer pursue the proposed merger comes as he prioritizes Sanford's patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Right now we can't afford to take our eye off the ball in regards to fighting the pandemic," which he told Inforum is the health system's "No. 1 priority."

Becker's Hospital Review reached out to Intermountain for comment. A spokesperson from Intermountain said nothing has changed since the health systems announced they were indefinitely suspending merger talks in December 2020.

Editor's note: This article was updated March 16 to include more information from Intermountain. 

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