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St. Luke’s Signs Letter of Intent with Aspirus Health to Expand Health Care Access Across the Region

Proposal will join St. Luke’s with Aspirus Health to advance health care quality and expand access to services in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan

St. Luke’s is excited to announce that the organization has signed a letter of intent (LOI) to affiliate with Aspirus Health, based in Wausau, Wisconsin. By affiliating with Aspirus Health, we will expand access to care for more people across our region in northeastern Minnesota, northern and central Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

This affiliation will grow our impact and goal of improving the health and wellbeing of every patient and community we serve. Aspirus is a like-minded health system that fits together with St. Luke’s patient-first mission. The affiliation means Aspirus and St. Luke’s can expand our impact, invest in infrastructure, and improve the health of people we serve.

This agreement will enable both organizations to build on their collective strengths and specialties to create a broader health network patients can count on as well as expanded opportunities for each organization's dedicated staff.

Building on a Legacy of Compassionate, Community-Centered Care

For 140 years, St. Luke’s has made significant contributions to the vitality of the community and the region. Aspirus also has a longstanding reputation for innovative strategies that advance health in their communities. As nonprofit organizations with legacies of compassionate care, the missions and values of St. Luke’s and Aspirus are closely aligned, as we share a commitment to providing high-quality, patient-centered care that improves the health and lives of the people and communities we serve.

Through this broadened network, Aspirus and St. Luke’s will work to standardize clinical protocols as well as develop groundbreaking research to improve the lives of patients and families.

Together the new organization will operate 19 hospitals and 130 outpatient locations, with nearly 14,000 team members, including 1,300 affiliated, independent, and employed physicians and advanced practice providers. The system will operate headquarters in Wausau, Wisconsin, and also maintain corporate offices in Duluth, Minnesota.

By aligning our non-profit organizations, St. Luke’s and Aspirus are confident that both our communities and employees will experience significant benefits:

  • Affiliation with a like-minded system will build upon and strengthen the cultures and success of both organizations.
  • Our combined organizations will preserve, improve and even expand vital local healthcare services, while focusing on maintaining high-quality care, providing exceptional patient experiences and maximize value for patients. This will enable increased collaboration and further investments in our infrastructure and people.
  • We will provide growth opportunities for our workforce and honor existing physician, union and labor contracts.
  • We will build on our efforts to attract and retain a pipeline of high-quality residents, physicians, APCs, nurses and other healthcare professionals.
  • Patients will have access to competitive health insurance plan in Minnesota via the Aspirus Health Plan.
  • All in all, this will be an opportunity to improve and maintain health care in our region:
    • By advancing the quality of health care for patients.
    • Expanding access to health care services to more people.
    • Leveraging our collective resources to strengthen the health of our communities.

Quality Care for Patients and Community Members Remains

As this affiliation process continues to evolve, St. Luke’s and Aspirus patients will continue to receive exceptional care from the physicians and teams they know and trust. Nothing changes in how patients or health plan members receive care at St. Luke’s and Aspirus.

Upon a definitive agreement and deal close, St. Luke’s will remain a major care delivery hub for the region, a role that will benefit from the successful care model Aspirus Health employs in its current footprint.

Next Steps

Aspirus Health and St. Luke’s hope to complete the affiliation process, following all due diligence and regulatory reviews, in early 2024. Each organization will keep its communities informed as updates are available.

For more information, please see the read the full announcement.

We look forward to this affiliation creating a bright future for health in our region.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does this mean for patients and the community?

Affiliating with Aspirus will expand services that are vital for the region and rural communities. In doing so, we will pursue our goal of improving the health and wellbeing of every patient we serve. This combined, strengthened entity will allow us to build upon the collective strengths of each organization in a way that ultimately creates a stronger health care system in the region. Together we will provide patients with access to 19 hospitals, more than 130 outpatient locations, and nearly 14,000 employees, including 1,300 physicians and advanced practice clinicians.

Can patients still use the same physicians and care facilities?

There will be no impact on patients, the physicians they see or care facilities where they receive care at either organization.

Will any care sites close?

This affiliation intends to maintain and expand access across the communities we serve. Together the two systems would provide patients with access to 19 hospitals, more than 130 outpatient locations, and nearly 14,000 employees, including 1,300 physicians and advanced practice clinicians – providing our services to a broadened community across Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Will my insurance still be accepted?

Yes. Patients can still see their same doctors and use their same health plan.

Will care for patients change?

Joining together will allow both health systems to maintain and enhance our exceptional quality and patient experience.