Merger brings St. Mary’s into combined health care organization

Bryan Johnson

SCL Health and Intermountain Healthcare have completed a merger that brings St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction into a combined organization serving patients in seven states.

“I am very excited to have St. Mary’s and Intermountain Healthcare come together as one health system,” said Bryan Johnson, president of St. Mary’s Medical Center. “We can now move forward in creating a comprehensive health care system and continue providing high-quality, affordable health care to our patients in Western Colorado and beyond.”

The merger creates the 11th largest nonprofit health care system in the United States with a total of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics and more than 59,000 caregivers in Colorado as well as Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. The organization also provides health insurance to a total of 1 million people in Idaho and Utah.

The new organization is named Intermountain Healthcare. St. Mary’s and six other Catholic hospitals will retain their names.

Intermountain Healthcare is headquartered in Salt Lake City, with regional offices in Las Vegas and  Broomfield, Colo.

Dr. Marc Harrison, the former president and chief executive officer of Intermountain, will lead the combined organization. Lydia Jumonville, former CEO of SCL Health, will serve as executive sponsor and assist with the integration of the two systems. She’ll also serve on a new Intermountain board of trustees.

An enterprise leadership team has been selected from both systems as part of the integration process.

Johnson said in an interview in September he didn’t expect the merger to affect operations at St. Mary’s in the short term. But over the long run, he said there will be benefits from the combined systems and their leadership teams.

Prior to joining St. Mary’s in 2016, Johnson worked in a series of roles with  Intermountain Healthcare, including CEO of the Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Salt Lake City and Alta View Hospital in Sandy.

The combined organization will offer access to more technology as well as accelerate efforts to better care for people in and out of the hospital at lower costs, he said.

Harrison said he’s optimistic about what can be accomplished with the combined organization. “With this merger, we’ll create a model for the future of health care that focuses on keeping people healthy and proactively addresses causes of illness through high-quality, affordable and accessible care to more patients. The merger provides a model for health care for the rest of the country.”

Mike Leavitt will serve as chairman of the board for the combined organization. In previous roles, he served in the cabinet of President George W. Bush as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Secretary of Health and Human Services as well as a three-time elected governor of Utah.

The board includes representation from the pre-merger boards of both Intermountain Healthcare and SCL Health. The most recent Intermountain Healthcare board chair, Gail Miller, and most recent SCL Health board chair, Michael L. Fordyce, will continue as members of the combined board. 

Fordyce will serve as board vice chair of the Intermountain Healthcare Board and as board chair of the Intermountain region board based in Broomfield. Miller will serve as board chair of the new region board based in Salt Lake City.