US-based nonprofit health system St Luke’s has concluded its affiliation with Wisconsin-based peer Aspirus Health. 

Last July, the two health systems signed a letter of intent in this regard.  

Since then, Aspirus and St Luke’s have been engaged in the affiliation process, which included entering a definitive agreement, completing due diligence, and taking part in a public forum with the Minnesota Attorney General’s office in Duluth. 

Having met all relevant governmental notices, waiting periods, and approvals, the affiliation also completed the review process by the Minnesota Attorney General.  

The newly combined entity comprises 19 hospitals and 130 outpatient sites, employing around 14,000 staff members, including 1,300 physicians and clinicians across northeastern Minnesota, northern and central Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 

This expanded health system will have dual headquarters in Wausau, Wisconsin and a corporate office in Duluth.  

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The latest move is expected to enhance clinical care through shared medical expertise and resources, eventually improving care coordination, as well as delivering better patient outcomes and more cost-effective services. 

Aspirus president and CEO Matt Heywood, along with St Luke’s co-presidents Van Deelen and Lohn, will retain their respective leadership roles. 

Aspirus pledged to respect all existing physician, labour, and union contracts and is planning to invest at least $300m over the next eight years in strategic projects for St Luke’s.  

It also plans to deploy the Epic electronic medical record platform and other systems to support integration within 24 months. 

Furthermore, Aspirus intends to expand the Aspirus Health Plan into St Luke’s service area within two years, subject to regulatory requirements. 

Heywood said: “Our collective strengths will improve health for our communities, and we look forward to what the future holds for our patients, staff and all who rely on our system for excellent care. Our combined team can now begin working together as champions for the future of health in our communities.”