A yet-to-be-named partnership between two of South Carolina’s largest hospital systems has created the largest private employer in the Palmetto State.

The partnership, announced last summer and finalized Nov. 21, was finalized ahead of schedule and is operating as the parent organization of Palmetto Health of Columbia and Greenville Health System.

The Upstate and Midlands health care systems were waiting on approval from the Federal Trade Commission. The finalized deal is said to be the biggest hospital merger in South Carolina history. Yet officials have said the new arrangement is not technically a "merger," because one organization is not absorbing the other.

The CEOs of Palmetto Health and Greenville Health — Charles D. Beaman Jr. and Michael C. Riordan, respectively — will be co-chief executives of the new nonprofit and will share leadership roles. Patients will not be immediately affected, according to a written statement. "Patients will continue to be patients of Greenville Health System or Palmetto Health," according to the statement.

The South Carolina partnership was formed partly in response to "a challenging health care environment," according to the written statement.

The combined company said its goals include addressing the rising costs of medical care, the poor availability of care in rural areas and South Carolina's poor health outcomes overall. It has also named a board of directors.

Officials said a brand for the new 2,800-bed hospital system is still being developed. The combined providers are expected to generate about $4 billion in annual revenue, employ about 28,000 workers and provide care to about 1.2 million patients a year.

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