St. Michael's Hospital on May 8. (Metro Wire photo)

NEW: Aspirus acquisition of Ascension becomes official

By Patrick Lynn

Aspirus Health has announced its acquisition of several Ascension locations became official at 12:01 on Aug. 1.

The announcement was made during a virtual press conference on Monday.

Matt Heywood, president and CEO of Aspirus, said everyone in the health system was “proud and excited” to share the news.

The acquisition adds 2,700 new employees under the Aspirus umbrella via seven hospitals, 21 physician clinics, and air and ground medical transport services in north and central Wisconsin.

The agreement also covers Eagle River Hospital in Eagle River, Good Samaritan Hospital in Merrill, Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff, Our Lady of Victory Hospital in Stanley, Sacred Heart Hospital in Tomahawk, St. Mary’s Hospital in Rhinelander, and St. Michael’s Hospital in Stevens Point.

Heywood said the transition was beneficial to the system and the community because it’s been difficult to recruit and retain qualified personnel.

“What makes this so special for us is that we’ve added thousands of professionals to our team and dozens of sites that will offer the best of rural healthcare,” he said.

Teresa Theiler, Chief Administrative Officer for Ascension St. Michael’s, has joined the Asipirus team following the acquisition. Theiler said she’s been through acquisitions at St. Michael’s before, but this one was different, she said.

“Aspirus has been transparent, collaborative, and displayed their passion for rural healthcare,” she said. “I chose a career in the healthcare field because I wanted to serve people. We all want the same thing and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Jenny Redman-Schell, president of Aspirus Medical Group, said patients would still be treated by their regular providers and would notice only minor changes like new signage for the next several months.

“We will work hard to learn as much as we can about each community to determine how we can best serve them,” she said. 

Aspirus Health announced in January it had begun negotiations with Ascension. Prior to the acquisition, Aspirus had six locations in Wisconsin and four in Michigan.