South Carolina’s two largest healthcare providers, Greenville Health System (GHS) and Palmetto Health in Columbia, have agreed to merge into a new massive nonprofit locally governed health group which could treat over 1.2 million patients each year.
Officials announced the partnership in a press conference Thursday. They said the newly-created company will generate $3.9 billion in annual net revenue and become one of the 50 largest health systems in the nation.
“Working together we will improve the patient experience, clinical quality, access to care and address the rising healthcare costs,” Palmetto Health CEO Charles Beaman, Jr., told reporters.
The joint partnership would operate 13 different hospital systems throughout South Carolina. Palmetto Health already operates the Baptist and Richland hospitals in downtown Columbia and acquired Sumter’s Tuomey hospital in 2015. GHS operates Greenville, Hillcrest, North Greenville and Patewood hospitals in Greenville, plus facilities in Greer, Laurens, and Seneca. Both groups already partner on Easley Baptist.
The as-yet-unnamed company would formally launch in January 2018. The deal must be reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission before the merger can occur to ensure it meets antitrust laws.
“Both organizations are committed to ensuring our community members receive the health care they need, regardless of their ability to pay,” Beaman said. “Our integration to become a new health company continues our commitment to serving our patients. We will create a culture that attracts, retains and develops the highest quality and diversity of team members, and continue to teach the next generation of physicians and other caregivers.”
Nearly half of South Carolinians will be within 15 minutes of the new health company’s physician practices, hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Because of its scale, Beaman said the new company will have the potential to invest up to an additional $1 billion over the next five years in programs, technology, facilities and team members.
The two systems have been working on the project for months and and isn’t likely to close before the end of the year.