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 Provider Organizations Closer to Forming New Enterprise

Two provider organizations have announced they have taken a major step in the process of combining as a single enterprise.

The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, which operates in 24 states and provides senior care services, senior living, and affordable housing communities, and Sanford Health, which operates in nine states and nine countries and provides acute care services, signed a new Affiliation Agreement on June 26, combining the two organizations as one pending regulatory review.

The move comes after Good Samaritan Membership overwhelmingly voted to approve the Restated Articles of Incorporation. The vote clears the way to begin the regulatory review process, with the goal of bringing the organizations together by Jan. 1, 2019.

“Our Membership affirms what we believed at the onset of our discussions with Sanford,” said David Horazdovsky, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Good Samaritan Society, in a statement. “By bringing the expertise of the professionals at the Society together with the health care experts at Sanford, not only will there be benefits for those we serve, but also the organizations are stronger together.”

Leaders at Sanford say the opportunity is cutting edge and will be a model of care.

“This forward-thinking plan will become a national model to serve communities with exceptional care and value through the full spectrum of one’s life,” said Kelby Krabbenhoft, president and CEO of Sanford.

The goal of providing care through the full spectrum of life was the basis for discussion between the two organizations, says Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the Good Samaritan Society Grant Tribble, in an exclusive interview with Provider.

“The birth of the discussion was to think about ways to broaden that delivery of care to include all of those pieces of the delivery system,” he says. “And we felt like it was better to do it stronger together. That really is the purpose and the meaning behind the coming together.”

Tribble says that the two organizations, which had worked together over the years, recognized that the models in health care needed to change for the better. “Some of this was a purposeful design of strategy,” he says. “Some of it an absolute belief that what we’re doing is going to make things better. And some of it was a leap of faith to say we have the faith in what we’re doing and we feel like, if the goal is to provide improved quality opportunities for those we serve, then we can’t be doing the wrong thing.”

One benefit of combining the strengths of the two organizations will be its reach into new markets. This includes markets where services currently overlap and those where one organization has a presence and the other currently does not.

“Because of our relevance in the markets that we serve, we will see that connectivity being broadened,” says Tribble. “The combined organization intends to be growth-oriented by expanding our service offerings and geographic reach, affording more employment opportunities.”

Leaders from the Society and Sanford, says Tribble, will continue to work together to exchange knowledge and ideas about how each organization works today and how they might work together in the future, but any significant operational changes are down the road post-closing, expected to be Jan. 1, 2019.

From a community perspective, says Tribble, patients and residents will have an integrated health system that deals with not only specific diagnosis-oriented care, but also with the effects of long term aging. It also brings the community together, he says. “You have a retirement community that brings people into independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, hospice, memory care, all those types of things that we deal very specifically in aging, but now we have an integrated piece that brings acute care into that as well.”

Tribble also says that the move is an opportunity for the future. “As we look into the future, five, seven, 10 years, I think we’re all going to look back and say, ‘Gosh look how much the industry has changed, and aren’t we very happy that we did what we did to help facilitate some of that?’”

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