Essentia Health, Marshfield Clinic Health System End Merger Talks

Jan. 8, 2024
This marks the second time in four years that Marshfield Clinic Health System has been in merger discussions that failed

Minnesota-based Essentia Health and Wisconsin-based Marshfield Clinic Health System have decided not to move forward with their proposed integration that would have formed an integrated regional health system across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and North Dakota.

In October 2022, the two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the merger. With complementary geographies and capabilities, the two health systems said they would evaluate how they might merge. A combined organization would feature a network of 3,800 providers serving more than 2 million people in rural and mid-urban communities through more than 150 sites of care, including 25 hospitals.

Without giving specific reasons, the two organizations now say they have decided that "a combination at this time is not the right path forward for our respective organizations, colleagues and patients.”

“As we’ve explored this opportunity, I appreciate the relationships we’ve built with the skilled Marshfield Clinic providers, staff and leaders who share our dedication to excellent care," said Essentia Health CEO David Herman, M.D., in a statement.

“Essentia Health and the Marshfield Clinic Health System are high-performing, well-respected, community-focused organizations,” said Marshfield Interim CEO Brian Hoerneman, M.D. “Those similarities served as the basis for efforts toward a combination. As we now move our separate ways, Marshfield Clinic looks forward to advancing our 100-year legacy of providing compassionate and accessible care to the communities we serve. Our commitment to continually enhance the level of care we provide remains firmly in place as we look to the future.”

In its last session, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law that would require a state review of some proposed mergers of hospitals or healthcare systems – and allow them to be blocked if they are deemed detrimental to the public or would lead to reduced health outcomes for Minnesotans, which may have complicated the deal.

The Marshfield News Herald newspaper notes that “this is the second time in just over four years Marshfield Clinic Health System has been in merger discussions that failed. In December 2019, Gundersen Health System and Marshfield Clinic Health System decided to remain separate companies after several months of discussions to integrate."

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