UnityPoint Health and Presbyterian Healthcare Services announce intent to merge


On Thursday, Des Moines, IA-based UnityPoint Health and Albuquerque, NM-based Presbyterian Healthcare Services revealed they have signed a letter of intent to explore a merger. The UnityPoint and Presbyterian brands would continue to operate in their local regions, but the combined system would manage $11B in annual revenue, over 40 hospitals, and nearly 3K physicians and advanced practice clinicians.

The Gist: A UnityPoint and Presbyterian link up would seem to follow the playbook of the recently closed Advocate Aurora and Atrium merger. Mergers between large, noncontiguous health systems are currently popular as a means to achieve the benefits of scale without tripping the alarms of federal antitrust regulators. 

UnityPoint has been seeking a merger partner for years; most recently its plan to combine with Sanford Health fell through in 2019. It may have found a like-minded partner in Presbyterian, as both systems have made significant investments in risk, including establishing mature ACOs, developing their own Medicare Advantage plans, and expanding their hospital at home programs. 

We’re expecting to see a number of these cross-state system mergers announced over the course of 2023, as large regional players seek combinations that allow them to scale into super-regional, or even national, delivery platforms.

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