Skip to main content

Wisconsin Health Systems Sign LOI to Merge

Analysis  |  By Melanie Blackman  
   April 12, 2023

Following the merger, the 10-hospital and 8-hospital systems will continue to operate under their established brand names.

Milwaukee-based Froedtert Health and Neenah-based ThedaCare announced on Tuesday that the systems have signed a letter of intent to combine the systems.

According to a press release, the organizations hope to merge to "advance healthcare for patients and improve health and the delivery of healthcare in Wisconsin." The goal is for the merger to be completed by the end of 2023, pending the completion of a definitive agreement, due diligence, and board and government regulatory approvals.

Following the merger, the 10-hospital Froedtert system in the southeast and the 8-hospital ThedaCare system in the northeast of the state will continue to operate under their established brands and names.

"Together, we will offer high-quality health care services for treatment and prevention in a coordinated manner. This will help ensure seamless access and continuity of care in the communities the combined organization will serve," the organizations say on a website dedicated to the deal.

Currently, Froedtert Health and ThedaCare have an existing quaternary partnership, including the Medical College of Wisconsin, to expand healthcare access in the state as well as a joint venture to create two new health campuses in Fond du Lac and Oshkosh. The joint organization hopes to further close care gaps, solve workforce issues, and develop innovations to meet patient and community needs.

"Both of our organizations have deep, long-standing ties in the communities we serve. Our Wisconsin roots have been instrumental in building creative solutions to meet our communities' health needs," Cathy Jacobson, president and CEO of Froedtert Health, said in a statement. "By coming together with the stateโ€™s leader in regional community health, our combined organization will be poised to meaningfully address health equity and disparities, enhance access to a broader array of services and make it easier for patients to navigate the health care system. The Medical College of Wisconsin will continue to be an important partner in our work together."

Jacobson will serve as CEO of the combined system, with ThedaCare's current CEO, Imran A. Andrabi, MD, FAAFM, serving as president. Following a six-month transition, Jacobson will retire and Andrabi will assume the role of president and CEO of the combined system.

"ThedaCare and Froedtert Health have a commitment to the people of Wisconsin," Andrabi said in a statement. "We are alike in many ways, and our leaders and our boards have long been asking how we can accelerate our work to make a positive and lasting impact on our state. We have a shared vision for what we can do together to improve the health and well-being of the communities and be proactive partners in health. We are eager to start exploring how we can build a healthier, brighter future for Wisconsin."

Additional C-suite leaders have been chosen to serve the combined system including:

  • ThedaCare's current chief strategy officer, Thomas Arquilla, who will serve as chief growth officer
  • Froedtert Health's EVP of finance, chief financial and administrative officer and treasurer, Scott Hawig, CPA, CMA, MBA, who will serve as CFO
  • Froedtert Health's chief business and development officer, David Olson, who will serve as chief business development officer
  • Froedtert Health's EVP and chief clinical officer, Ian Schwartz, MD, will serve as chief clinical officer
  • ThedaCare's COO and CFO, Mark Thompson, will serve as chief transformation investment officer

The full executive team will be identified prior to the definitive agreement.

Additionally, the board for the joint organization will have 18 members from both Froedtert Health and ThedaCare, including Jacobson and Andrabi. Jud Snyder, who serves as Froedtert Health's current vice chair and chair-elect will serve as the initial board chair. Jim Kotek, ThedaCare's current board chair will serve as the initial vice chair.

Melanie Blackman is a contributing editor for strategy, marketing, and human resources at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.