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UnityPoint, Presbyterian call off merger

Albuquerque, N.M.-based Presbyterian Healthcare Services and West Des Moines, Iowa-based UnityPoint Health have called off a planned $11 billion merger, the two systems said Oct. 11.

While no official reason was given immediately for the decision, the health systems said they had reached an agreement after "significant planning and consideration," according to a joint news release.

"Our goal for this partnership was to strengthen local, not-for-profit healthcare in the face of mounting cost pressures across the industry," Presbyterian Health CEO Dale Maxwell said in the release. "At Presbyterian, that goal remains unchanged with today's news. We will continue to explore new ways to address these structural shifts in healthcare so we can invest in clinical innovation and our workforce. We will remain focused on building a sustainable path forward to serve New Mexicans for generations to come."

The purpose of such a merger would have been to allow for greater investments in clinical excellence, digital innovation, workforce development and value-based care, according to a March 2 joint statement from the health systems. Overall administrative costs would also have been lowered.

An almost 50-hospital system would have been created out of the merger, with Presbyterian operating nine hospitals and UnityPoint responsible for 39 at the time.

"We believe this decision allows us to better meet the needs of our patients, team members, communities and key stakeholders," Sally Gray, RN, board chair of UnityPoint Health, said in the release. "As we move forward, UnityPoint Health is focused on identifying new, innovative ways to deliver low-cost, high-quality care to those we serve."

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