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SSM Health Finalizes Acquisition of Catholic Health System, Clinic in Wisconsin

News  |  By Steven Porter  
   January 05, 2018

The St. Louis-based health system picks up four hospitals, eight post-acute care centers, and dozens of other facilities, continuing a trend toward consolidation.

SSM Health has expanded its territory farther northeast into the Great Lakes region, announcing Thursday that its acquisition of two more organizations in Wisconsin has been finalized.

The St. Louis-based nonprofit health system now stretches from central Oklahoma to east-central Wisconsin, where it just acquired Agnesian HealthCare, based in Fond du Lac, from the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes (CSA). SSM Health also acquired the CSA-sponsored Monroe Clinic in Monroe, continuing an industrywide trend toward consolidation.

The two acquired health ministries were established more than a century ago by CSA, which initiated talks to transfer their sponsorships, according to SSM Health. The move was motivated, at least in part, by changes in the state’s payer and provider markets.

“This partnership is a natural fit and we look forward to working together to further improve access and enhance quality of care in Wisconsin,” said SSM Health President and CEO Laura S. Kaiser in a statement.

This deal comes as Catholic healthcare organizations are reshaping the industry through large-scale mergers. Last month, Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives punctuated years of negotiations by signing a definitive agreement to merge their operations to form a 139-hospital system. And the Wall Street Journal reported that Ascension and Providence St. Joseph are in merger talks that could form the biggest hospital owner in the country.

SSM Health’s arrangement—plans for which were announced last July—adds to the system’s 2013 acquisition of Madison-based Dean Medical Group, bringing the system’s number of Wisconsin employees to about 14,000, as HealthLeaders Media previously reported. The system said in November that it would cut its workforce by about 1%, as the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Sister Jean Steffes, the CSA’s general superior, told the Journal that the deal “allows the kind of innovation and ongoing capital investment that we couldn’t do by ourselves,” while retaining “a culture very similar to ours.”

The two newly acquired organizations are each expected to adopt the SSM Health brand—in a way that honors their existing names—by the end of the year

Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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