Oregon Health & Science University and Legacy Health today announced they have signed a nonbinding letter of intent to combine and create a comprehensive, integrated health system that will offer high-quality, essential health care services to patients throughout Oregon, the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The letter of intent, which is the first step in a transaction process by which Legacy will become part of OHSU, was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both OHSU and Legacy. OHSU is part of the State of Oregon, established in Oregon law as a public corporation with a deeply rooted public mission of teaching, healing and discovery. Legacy is a local, nonprofit health system driven by its mission to improve the health of those in its communities.
OHSU and Legacy’s complementary expertise will create a high-impact health care system driven by a mission of public service. OHSU brings experience serving complex patient needs, administering statewide health care training and education programs, and conducting leading-edge research. Legacy brings deep roots in providing high-quality, community-based care through its comprehensive system of hospitals, primary and specialty clinics, and outpatient facilities.
The combined system — with more than 32,000 employees and 100-plus locations, including 10 hospitals, and more than 3 million patient visits a year — will be the largest employer in the Portland metro area, and will focus on amplifying the region’s leadership in patient- and community-focused health care, education, research and innovation.
Leadership from both organizations will participate in the strategy development of the combined system. We will be committed to serving our communities as we do today, as we focus on accelerating high-quality care, expanding our community-based and digital care offerings, and training and educating future scientists, advanced practice providers, physicians, nurses and other health care professionals, and creating a work and learning environment where every member feels safe and valued.
By joining forces, OHSU and Legacy are committed to attracting, engaging and supporting the region’s best health care workforce through investments in the tools, technologies, and education and development initiatives that are essential for the growth of our team members. We will continue to support our valued employees and learners, all of whom play an important role in delivering exceptional care and service.
“Our mission is to provide good health for our people, our patients, our communities, and our world. By combining with OHSU, we will expand our ability to deliver on our mission,” said Kathryn Correia, president and chief executive officer of Legacy Health. “In addition to ensuring access to high-quality essential health care for patients, the combined system will continue to be the region’s most exceptional place to work and learn, while supporting research and education for the next generation of health care professionals.”
As part of the agreement, OHSU intends to make a capital commitment of approximately $1 billion over 10 years, financed mostly through bond offerings, to support primary- and community-based services that will be part of the combined system. This commitment will better enable the combined organization to expand services, including clinical programs, sites of care, technology solutions, and new care models, while maintaining and growing essential services, including preventive medicine, population and public health.
“OHSU has enjoyed a decades-long relationship with Legacy Health, united by a shared commitment to improving the health and well-being of people in Oregon and beyond,” said Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, president of OHSU. “Now, we have an opportunity to join together and take a decisive next step that will help deliver on our promise to ensure the best access and care for all who need us, today and in the future. We look forward to our next chapter with Legacy and the exciting potential of our combined strengths and vision.”
To address critical community health care needs and disparities, Legacy will direct its net cash on hand and investments (above outstanding debt) at closing to a new independent foundation. The new foundation will promote physical and mental well-being and address inequity in health care, including social determinants of health and behavioral health.
The organizations are working toward reaching a definitive agreement in the coming months. The transaction is expected to close in 2024 and is subject to regulatory review and customary closing conditions.
Oregon Health and Science University is Oregon's public academic health center and is nationally distinguished as a research university dedicated solely to advancing health sciences. This singular purpose allows us to focus on discoveries that prevent and cure disease, on education that prepares future scientists, advanced practice practitioners, physicians, dentists, nurses and other health professionals for the evolving health care environment, and on patient care that incorporates the latest advances. Based in Portland, we are one of Oregon’s largest employers and secure competitive research funding of nearly $573 million (FY22). As a public organization, we also provide services for the most vulnerable Oregonians and outreach to improve health in communities across the state.
About Legacy Health
Legacy Health is a locally owned, nonprofit health system driven by our mission to improve the health of those around us. We offer a unique blend of health services — from wellness and urgent care to dedicated children’s care and advanced medical centers — to care for patients of all ages when and where they need us across the Portland/Vancouver metro area and mid-Willamette Valley. With an eye toward a healthier community, our partnerships tackle vital issues such as housing and mental health. Legacy strives to help everyone live healthier and better lives, with the vision of being essential to the health of the region. For more information, visit www.legacyhealth.org.