Sanford, UnityPoint Health merger called off

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - UnityPoint Health will not become part of Sanford Healthcare network after all.

In a statement from Sanford Health Tuesday afternoon, the health provider said conversations have ended regarding a potential merger with UnityPoint Health, an Iowa-based healthcare provider.

"We were excited at the opportunity our combination would have provided to create a new health system of national prominence," said Kelby Krabbenhoft, Sanford President and CEO. "The executive management teams and physicians worked diligently for 18 months to provide a merger recommendation to the boards. We are disappointed that the UnityPoint Health board failed to embrace the vision. Our focus now is on the patients and communities we serve and the 50,000 people working tirelessly to support them.”

Plans of the merger were announced back in June. During that time, Sanford officials said the merger would create an organization with more than 83,000 employees and more than $11 billion in annual revenue. The organization would have ranked among the 15 largest nonprofit health systems in the country, with operations in 26 states.

UnityPoint Health said in a statement: "Over the past several months, UnityPoint Health has seriously explored the opportunity to join together with Sanford Health. After significant consideration, we will not be moving forward with a formal partnership. We have great respect for Sanford Health and the relationships we’ve developed. UnityPoint Health remains strong, focused on delivering exceptional patient care and is competitively positioned for the future."

This story is developing. Stay with KSFY.com for the latest details.