Gunderson Health System, Bellin Health say ‘merger of equals’ will close Nov. 30

The two systems are forming a new organization with 11 hospitals serving patients in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa.

Gunderson Health System and Bellin Health say they are on the verge of coming together and forming a new health organization.

The two non-profit systems have announced that they plan to complete their merger by November 30 and will move forward as a combined organization beginning December 1. The new system will operate 11 hospitals and more than 100 clinics serving patients in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota. and Iowa.

Both Belin and Gunderson described the consolidation as a “planned merger of equals”. The system announced in June that they were discussing a merger to preserve and expand health services for the region.

The system stated that both Belin and Gunderson would keep their individual identities and logos.

Gunderson Chief Executive Officer Scott Rathgeber will serve as the incoming CEO of the merged organizations.

“Our health systems are successfully pursuing our individual missions, but we know we will best serve our patients and communities by finding partners with shared missions and a strategic vision,” Rathgeber said in a statement.

“This merger brings transformative opportunities to expand our patient-centered care and community-minded work,” he said. “Together, we can invest resources wisely and efficiently to improve health and well-being in our communities, especially for marginalized individuals and more broadly for everyone in our care.”

John Diekema, chairman of the Bellin Health board of directors, will chair the newly created board, who lives in northeastern Wisconsin.

Bellin CEO Chris Voleske will serve as the new organization’s executive vice president of systems and regional president of the Bellin region. Wolske sought to reassure patients that they would continue to see their physicians.

“The most important message we want to share with everyone: The people you know and the care and places you trust are not changing,” she said in a statement. “Coming together will help Bellin and Gunderson better serve our patients and communities, preserving and enhancing a legacy of local, personalized care that will last for decades to come,” said Voleske. “We have found a true partner in Gunderson, and we know we will be stronger together.”

Bellin will remain headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Gunderson will remain headquartered in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Systems said they would have a “balanced leadership structure” with the top two positions – CEO and board chairman – in different areas to ensure equal representation.

Heather Shimmers, Gunderson’s chief nursing officer and chief operating officer, will serve as regional president for the Gunderson region.

The systems said they expect to offer more clinical services and share resources. Systems said the combined organization also hopes to offer more virtual care options in homes and workplaces.

When Systems first revealed merger discussions in June, Rathgeber said, “By coming together we will be better positioned to drive change in the weather industry, and digital infrastructure, while maintaining affordability for patients and communities.” Will make necessary financial investments in facilities, equipment and therapeutics. Service Tax.”

While Belin and Gunderson prepare to complete their consolidation, two other health systems in the upper Midwest are exploring the possibility of a merger.

Essentia Health and Marshfield Clinic Health System said in October that they had begun talks that could lead to a merger. If Essentia and Marshfield Clinic merge, it would create a system of 25 hospitals and more than 26,000 employees.

Essentia operates 14 hospitals with some facilities in Wisconsin, as well as dozens of clinics in Minnesota and North Dakota. Marshfield Clinic manages 11 hospitals and other sites of care in the Upper Peninsula of Wisconsin and Michigan.

Two Pennsylvania health systems, Accella Health and Butler Health System, announced last week that they have entered into a “definitive agreement” to join forces and form a new system. The new organization will operate five hospitals in western Pennsylvania and exceed $1 billion in revenue.

There have been fewer hospital consolidations in the COVID-19 pandemic, but bigger deals. Industry analysts expect to see more hospital consolidations in the coming months, either out of financial necessity or to seize opportunities to expand services.

Trinity Health, one of the largest Catholic health systems in the US, completed its acquisition of MercyOne in September. MercyOne, based in Iowa, operates 16 medical centers and more than 400 nursing homes.

Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health announced in May that they plan to merge and form an organization with $27 billion in annual revenue. If federal regulators approve the deal, the new health system would operate 67 hospitals and 1,000 ambulatory sites in six states.

Industry analysts say if regulators sign off on the Atrium-advocate Aurora merger, it could spur other hospital deals. Other large systems may view the deal as a model for other transactions by merging with systems in other regions, and thus avoid the regulatory scrutiny that comes with trying to acquire or merge hospitals in similar markets.


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