Marshfield Clinic, Sanford Health plan merger

Marshfield Clinic, Sanford Health plan merger

Caption: Photo of Marshfield Medical Center by Marshfield Clinic Health System.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 11:15 a.m. July 11, 2024, in part to include additional financial information about Sanford Health and Marshfield Clinic Health System as well as more background on Sanford’s prior merger pursuits.  

Marshfield Clinic Health System said Wednesday it’s seeking to join South Dakota-based Sanford Health.

The two announced a nonbinding memorandum of understanding to create a 56-hospital health system that would encompass 56,000 employees.

The proposed system’s two health plans — Sanford Health Plan and Security Health Plan — would serve more than 425,000 members.

“Together, we will ensure sustainable access to exceptional care for our communities for years to come,” Marshfield Clinic Interim CEO Dr. Brian Hoerneman said in a statement.

Sanford Health, which also has a presence in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa, had total operating revenues of $7.2 billion last year. It operates 45 hospitals.

Marshfield Clinic, which has a presence in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as well as Wisconsin, had $3.1 billion in total operating revenues. It runs 11 hospitals.

If finalized, the parent company would be known as Sanford Health, with a headquarters in Sioux Falls, S.D. Marshfield Clinic would be a region within Sanford Health with its own regional leadership.

Sanford Health CEO Bill Gassen would lead the system, while Hoerneman would serve as CEO of the Marshfield Clinic region.

The two expect the combination to close by the end of the year, pending regulatory processes and closing conditions. They said there are no immediate changes for employees.

Marshfield Clinic previously explored merging with Minnesota-based Essentia Health, a plan the health systems dropped at the start of the year. Marshfield Clinic also considered joining forces with Gundersen Health System in 2019. Gundersen has since combined with Bellin Health to form Emplify Health.

Sanford Health considered joining with UnityPoint Health, which owns Meriter hospital in Madison, but the two dropped the plan in 2019. Sanford also pursued a merger with Fairview Health Services, which has a presence in western Wisconsin, but discontinued that process a year ago. Sanford previously withdrew from merger talks with Fairview in 2013. A proposed merger between Sanford and Intermountain Healthcare in Utah fell through in 2020.

This article first appeared in the Wisconsin Health News daily email newsletter. Sign up for your free trial here.


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