LifePoint shareholders approve RCCH merger, nix executives’ golden parachutes

LifePoint Health’s shareholders have signed off on its planned merger with RCCH HealthCare Partners. 

A majority of shareholders voted to approve the deal, which is set to close by the end of the year, the health system announced. Stockholders will earn $65 per share when the merger is finalized. 

Tennessee-based LifePoint announced in July that it would be acquired by Apollo Global Management, the private equity firm that owns RCCH, for $5.6 billion. The newly formed joint health system would operate under the LifePoint brand. 

LifePoint CEO Bill Carpenter was initially tapped to head the unified system, but he announced last month that he intends to retire after the merger is finalized. Chief Operating Officer David Dill will take over for Carpenter. 

Carpenter and three other executives were set to receive $121 million in golden parachute payments upon leaving LifePoint, but the shareholders voted against providing that compensation. 

Should the LifePoint-RCCH deal be finalized, the two health systems would form a joint venture with $8 billion in combined revenue. It would include 84 non-urban hospitals across 30 states and regional physician practices, outpatient centers and post-acute providers, encompassing 7,000 doctors, 16,000 employees and 24,000 beds. 

Carpenter said when the merger was announced that the two health systems are “aligned in our missions and commitment to ensuring that non-urban communities across the country have access to quality care.” 

RELATED: Policy experts blame provider consolidation, lack of price transparency for skyrocketing medical costs  

Providers' thirst for mergers has yet to be slaked, and several high-profile deals have been announced already this year. Sanford Health and the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society—two of the largest employers in South Dakota—are moving forward with a deal, and Bon Secours Health System and Mercy Health announced plans to merge and form the country's fifth-largest Catholic health system.  

However, experts warn that consolidation rarely pays off for patients in the form of lower costs, and that these deals can actually pose significant safety risks