One of the health systems serving patients in KELOLAND plans to merge with a system headquartered in Utah.

The Sanford Health president and CEO announced the news alongside the leader of Intermountain Healthcare Monday morning.

The two have signed a letter of intent for a partnership.

The merger is expected to close next year pending state and federal approval.

Together they’ll employ more than 89,000 people and operate 70 hospitals.

They’ll also provide senior care and services in nearly 370 locations and insure more than one million people.

Despite the planned merger, you’ll still be seeing the Sanford name.

Both organizations will keep their current names for the foreseeable future.

“You’ll have an Intermountain brand relative to health care delivery in the west. You’ll have a Sanford brand in the east, but the parent company will be Intermountain Health,” Sanford Health President & CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft said.

President and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare Dr. Marc Harrison will be president and CEO of the combined organization, while Sanford Health President and CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft will serve as president emeritus.

“I think he’s going to be an incredible leader. He gets the national scope and impact and the burden that he will carry as the new chief executive officer and president of the system and I intend to do whatever I can to make him the most successful one in the country,” Krabbenhoft said.

Harrison says the two are a good match.

“These are two great organizations with strong histories that are economically and clinically very strong. This is not something that needs to happen. This is not a turnaround. This is something that should happen for the future of American health care,” Intermountain Health President & CEO Dr. Marc Harrison said.

When asked if the merger could come with potential layoffs, Krabbenhoft pointed to when Sanford Health merged with Fargo years ago.

“The concern then significantly spurned by people who were afraid of mergers, just as the question suggests, have witnessed and watched the largest medical center ever built in the northern great plains, the single largest facility and almost a doubling of employment in the greater Fargo region because of a merger. I’m not going to predict the same thing with this merger, but I think the odds are so much more significantly on the side of momentum, and growth, and opportunity,” Krabbenhoft said.

The organization will be headquartered in Salt Lake City with corporate offices in Sioux Falls.