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SC's Palmetto, Greenville Health to Merge

By John Commins  
   June 15, 2017

The proposed consolidation of the not-for-profits would create the largest health system in South Carolina.

Palmetto Health and Greenville Health System on Thursday announced plans to merge.

“Both organizations are committed to ensuring our community members receive the healthcare they need, regardless of their ability to pay,” Palmetto Health CEO Charles D. Beaman Jr. said in a media release.

“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,” he said.

If the deal clears regulatory review, it would create the largest health system in South Carolina, and one of the 50 largest health systems in the nation, with 13 hospitals and hundreds of physician practices and ambulatory centers. Nearly half of South Carolinians would be within 15 minutes of a facility operated by the merged system, which would be the largest private employer in South Carolina, with more than 28,000 employees and 2,800 physicians, the two systems said.

“Greenville Health System and Palmetto Health are joining together from individual positions of strength,” Greenville Health System CEO Michael C. Riordan said. “We have a long history of successful collaboration, as well as a strong cultural fit and mutual commitment to make South Carolina healthier. Together we will continue to ensure our community members, including those in rural areas, have access to high-quality, locally based care.”

South Carolina has some of the nation’s highest rates of obesity, diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular and pulmonary disease. The two health systems said the merged company will have the scale, scope and resources to address the health issues of the people it serves. It also will continue to be a not-for-profit, mission-driven organization committed to making healthcare more affordable and accessible.

Because of its scale, 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 employees. No layoffs are planned.

The merger received the unanimous approval of the boards of directors of both health systems, capping months of discussions and analysis by both organizations. A new board with equal representation from Palmetto and Greenville would oversee the new health company. Riordan and Beaman would be co-CEOs and share leadership responsibilities.

The process now enters a due diligence stage, which is expected to take several months. The merger must also clear state and federal regulatory hurdles. In the meantime, Palmetto Health and Greenville Health System will continue to offer care and services as two separate, independent organizations

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders.

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