St. Joseph's Community Health Services, Gundersen Lutheran Announce WI Partnership

John Commins, March 3, 2011

St. Joseph’s Community Health Services in Hillsboro has joined Gundersen Lutheran Heath Services with the formal affiliation expected to be finalized this month, the two WI healthcare providers have announced.

The combined system – to be known as St. Joseph’s Health Services – Gundersen Lutheran – will serve Hillsboro, Wonewoc, Elroy, and surrounding communities in the Hill Country area of west central Wisconsin. In November 2010, St. Joseph’s signed a management agreement with La Crosse, WI-based Gundersen Lutheran.

“We are pleased to be able to take our relationship with Gundersen Lutheran to the next level,” said Deb Smith, CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Services, in a media release announcing the affiliation. “As St. Joseph’s sought a partner to help create a more efficient healthcare delivery system for our patients, one of the first that came to mind is Gundersen Lutheran.”

In the coming months, the Gundersen Lutheran – Hillsboro Clinic and St. Joseph’s Hillsboro Clinic will consolidate at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Plans are underway to merge Gundersen Lutheran and St. Joseph’s in Wonewoc.

Sigurd B. Gundersen III, MD, medical vice president, Gundersen Lutheran Health System, said the affiliation will allow Hill Country residents to continue to receive quality care close to home. “In fact, enhancing the care in all of the communities we serve and creating a more efficient delivery system are part of our mission and our ongoing plans for the future,” Gundersen said in a media release.

During and after the transition, St. Joseph’s will accept insurances they now accept. After the transition, all patients’ billing statements will come from the consolidated clinic operation, St. Joseph’s Health Services -- Gundersen Lutheran.

There are no plans to cut overall employment with the affiliation. Staff and facility transitions will occur over the coming months, the health systems said.

Four members of the St. Joseph’s Community Board will serve on the board of St. Joseph’s Health Services – Gundersen Lutheran Board, along with five representatives from Gundersen Lutheran.

St. Joseph’s is the third regional hospital that is affiliated with Gundersen Lutheran. The others are Tri-County Memorial in Whitehall, WI, and Palmer Lutheran in West Union, IA.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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