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Bellin, Gundersen eye merger

Green Bay, Wis.-based Bellin Health and La Crosse, Wis.-based Gundersen Health System are exploring a merger with a final decision expected in weeks.

The two health systems serve patients in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa, according to a June 1 joint news release. The combined organization would have 11 hospitals and more than 100 local clinic locations.

If a final agreement is reached and the deal receives all necessary approvals, headquarters will remain in both Green Bay and La Crosse. Gundersen CEO Scott Rathgaber, MD, would be CEO of the new system. John Dykema, chair of Bellin's board of directors, would be the chair of the new board.

Bellin's CEO, Chris Woleske, would serve as system executive vice president and regional president of the northern counties.

"This merger would bring new opportunities to expand this important community-minded work. We are two not-for-profit health systems that take what we earn and re-invest those dollars back into our communities and into patient care," Dr. Rathgaber said in the news release. "We invest dollars to improve health outcomes, specifically for marginalized individuals and broadly for everyone in our care. Through this model, we also work hard to lower or maintain premiums on health plans, which reduces costs for the employers and businesses we serve."

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