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Two Wisconsin hospital systems are planning merger

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Froedtert Health and ThedaCare have signed a letter of intent to consolidate the two systems.

Two health systems in Wisconsin say they have signed a letter of intent to merge their organizations.

Cathy Jacobson, president and CEO of Froedtert Health, and Imran A. Andrabi, president and CEO of ThedaCare. The two Wisconsin hospital systems are planning to merge into one organization. (Photos provided by Froedtert Health)

Cathy Jacobson, president and CEO of Froedtert Health, and Imran A. Andrabi, president and CEO of ThedaCare. The two Wisconsin hospital systems are planning to merge into one organization. (Photos provided by Froedtert Health)

Froedtert Health and ThedaCare announced Tuesday that they plan to form one organization serving patients in Wisconsin. The merged system would include 18 hospitals and scores of other clinics and sites of care. The combined revenue of the two systems is more than $4 billion, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The two systems will work on refining the agreement over the next several months. Assuming regulators approve the deal, the two systems say they hope to launch the merged system by the end of 2023.

The systems said the existing names of the organization would endure, but a new name for the combined entity has yet to be announced. They touted the idea that the system would be based in Wisconsin and led by people who live and work in the state.

The organizations said the Medical College of Wisconsin would continue to be an important partner of the systems.

Froedtert, based in Milwaukee, operates 10 hospital locations and more than 45 clinics throughout Wisconsin. Thedacare operates eight hospitals and a host of other care sites across the state.

Froedtert and ThedaCare have already come together on some ventures. Last fall, they announced plans to establish two health campuses that include hospital and outpatient care services in Fond du Lac and Oshkosh.

The organizations already announced a leadership plan. Initially, Cathy Jacobson, president and CEO of Froedtert Health, will serve as CEO of the merged organization, while Imran A. Andrabi, president and CEO of ThedaCare, will serve as president of the joined system.

After a six-month transition period following the launch of the merged health organization, Jacobson plans to retire, and Andrabi will become the president and CEO of the combined organization.

“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,” Jacobson said in a statement.

“By coming together with the state’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,” she said.

Both systems are eager to come together, Andrabi said in a statement.

“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.”

The new organization will be governed by a board including members of both Froedtert and ThedaCare. The CEOs of both systems will serve on the board.

Jud Snyder, Froedtert Health’s current vice chair and chair-elect, will serve as the first board chair, and Jim Kotek, the board chair of ThedaCare, will serve as vice chair.

Two other WIsconsin-based systems, Gundersen Health System and Bellin Health, recently completed a merger. The system operates 11 hospitals and more than 100 clinics serving patients in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa.

Advocate Aurora Health, which operates in Illinois and Wisconsin, completed its merger with Atrium Health in December. The combined system, now known as Advocate Health, operates 67 hospitals in six states and boasts a combined revenue of $27 billion.

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