The merger, resulting in a combined revenue of approximately $10 billion and an anticipated annual community impact of $1 billion, positions the new entity to undertake broader research, innovation, and clinical collaborations.
St Louis-based BJC HealthCare and Kansas City's Saint Luke's Health System have officially concluded their $10 billion merger, forming a unified, integrated, academic nonprofit health system.
The merger, effective January 1, brings together two Missouri-based organisations under the umbrella of BJC Health System, boasting 24 hospitals and a workforce of 44,000 employees.
CEO Richard Liekweg, now leading the combined organisation, expressed the shared vision of enhancing healthcare in the Midwest. He said, "From the moment we first explored the concept of an integrated system, we have had a clear vision to improve healthcare in the Midwest."
The merger retains the individual market responsibilities and branding of both organisations while operating as a single entity. BJC Health System spans the greater St Louis, southern Illinois, and southeast Missouri regions, including renowned hospitals such as Barnes-Jewish and St Louis Children's Saint Luke's, based in Kansas City, Missouri, previously operated more than 100 locations throughout western Missouri and parts of eastern Kansas.
The merger, resulting in a combined revenue of approximately $10 billion and an anticipated annual community impact of $1 billion, positions the new entity to undertake broader research, innovation, and clinical collaborations. Importantly, it expands patient access to over 3,500 clinical trials.
Also, the objective of this strategic merger is to create a more seamless patient experience, with increased resources for medical advancements and innovation. The integrated system aims to leverage its strengthened financial foundation to invest in new ways of delivering care, such as expanding virtual health capabilities and developing alternative care sites.
BJC noted that the merger ensures continuity in patient care and access to resources. The organisation affirmed, "No immediate changes to our insurance carrier relationships that would impact a patient's relationship with our health system."
At the helm of the new organisation, president Nick Barto oversees the Eastern Region, while Julie Quirin leads the Western Region. The merger also marks the retirement of Melinda Estes, MD, the former CEO of Saint Luke's.
This move follows a broader trend in the healthcare sector, as evidenced by the recent announcement of Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health and Allentown-based Lehigh Valley Health Network taking initial steps toward a $14 billion merger, anticipating closure in 2024 pending regulatory approvals and negotiations.
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