Leaders at the Texas nonprofit hospital systems Baylor Scott & White Health and Memorial Hermann Health System announced this week plans to merge to the two organizations. The combined system will include 68 hospitals and employ over 70,000 workers, putting it among the largest nonprofit health systems in the U.S.
“We’ll be a large organization, 73,000 employees,” Jim Hinton, CEO of Baylor Scott & White, said of the merger, according to The Dallas Morning News. “We want to convert that size into value for the people we serve. That’s really been our main focus.”
Hinton is expected to serve as CEO of the merged hospital giant. With a strong presence in their respective regions on the state (Baylor Scott & White in the Dallas area, and Memorial Hermann Health centered in Houston), the merging systems are expected to keep their current branding in place. The overarching organization will have a new name, yet to be determined.
Assuming the deal clears all regulatory hurdles, the merger is expected to be complete by the middle of 2019.
Using numbers from the end of 2017, the combined Texas hospital system would be among the five largest nonprofit health systems in the country. Ascension Health, based out of St. Louis, remains the behemoth, though a planned merger with Providence St. Joseph Health was scuttled earlier this year. A proposed joining of California systems Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health would put that organization in Ascension’s league.
In announcing the deal, hospital leadership acknowledged uncertainty in the healthcare marketplace as a major driver of the merger. The concern is compounded in the Lone Star State, which the Texas Medical Association refers to as “the uninsured capital of the United States.” Gallup recently measured the share of Texas residents without health insurance at 22.5 percent, the 10th straight year the state has outpaced all others in that dubious statistic.
“The cost of healthcare is the number one issue in America, whether it’s in Washington, D.C., or Austin or in the benefits office of an employer,” Hinton said, according to the Morning News. “Taking cost out of the system will be an important part of this journey.”
Main image credit: Ed Uthman, via Flickr.