Des Moines-based health system MercyOne announced it has signed a non-binding letter of intent with national urgent care provider Premier Health to form a joint venture for urgent care in Iowa.

The organizations now enter into the due diligence process to explore a strategic partnership in greater detail. In the proposed joint venture, specific existing MercyOne urgent care clinics, as well as future clinics, will remain branded MercyOne Urgent Care, with Premier Health managing day-to-day operations. 

“This partnership will enable both organizations to build upon their unique strengths, while allowing MercyOne to accelerate growth and innovation with the additional capital, resources and expertise provided by Premier Health,”  MercyOne CEO Bob Ritz said in a statement. “By partnering with Premier Health, we would gain access to their best practices, state-of-the-art technology and unique patient access tools – all of which will help us to further innovate and expand our clinics statewide.” 

Based in Baton Rouge, La., Premier Health operates more than 60 fully accredited clinics in seven states and Puerto Rico, and employs more than 1,100 team members, including 275-plus physicians and advanced practice providers. 

The joint venture is the second significant partnership announced by MercyOne in the past year. MercyOne also has a joint venture with Pennsylvania-based Universal Health Systems for management and operation of its behavioral health care services, including the new 100-bed Clive Behavioral Health hospital now under construction. 

After the due diligence process and approval from regulatory agencies, the MercyOne-Premier Health joint venture is expected to be finalized by January. Each organization will have 50/50 joint ownership and equal representation on the joint venture’s board of directors.

The MercyOne and Premier Health proposed joint venture includes the following MercyOne urgent care clinic locations:
Central Iowa Urgent Care Centers: MercyOne Clive Urgent Care; MercyOne South Urgent Care; MercyOne Pleasant Hill Urgent Care; MercyOne Ankeny Urgent Care and MercyOne Indianola Urgent Care
- Northeast Iowa Urgent Care Centers: MercyOne Waterloo Urgent Care; MercyOne Bluebell Road Urgent Care and MercyOne Oelwein Urgent Care Center
- North Iowa Urgent Care: MercyOne Mason City Urgent Care
- Clinton Urgent Care: MercyOne Clinton Urgent Care

“We are committed to expanding our urgent care locations and continuing to innovate patient services to build healthier communities,” said Dr. Kent Carr, CEO of MercyOne Medical Group. “This proposed partnership with Premier Health is a way for us to accomplish this, and we appreciate they share MercyOne’s faith-based values and commitment to compassionate, quality care.”