Ascension to sell central Wisconsin hospital, divest of other investments

February 1, 2020

Ascension Wisconsin plans to sell its 99-bed hospital in Weston in central Wisconsin and to divest of its interest in a nearby critical access hospital and diagnostic and treatment center. The buyer is the nonprofit Marshfield Clinic Health System of Marshfield, Wisconsin.

Ascension Wisconsin and Marshfield Clinic have signed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding on the deal, which will require regulatory and church approval.

Under the deal, which is expected to close this spring, Ascension Wisconsin would sell substantially all assets and related operations of Ascension St. Clare's Hospital in Weston to the Marshfield Clinic system. Ascension Wisconsin also would sell its interest in the 25-bed Flambeau Hospital in Park Falls, Wisconsin, and the Diagnostic & Treatment Center in Weston to Marshfield Clinic.

Currently, Ascension Wisconsin and the Marshfield Clinic jointly own Flambeau Hospital as well as the Diagnostic & Treatment Center.

St. Clare's had been part of Ministry Health Care, which Ascension acquired in 2013 as part of a larger merger with Ministry's parent, Marian Health System. Ascension Wisconsin had sold another legacy Ministry site, Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital of Marshfield, Wisconsin, to Marshfield Clinic in 2017. That site now is called Marshfield Medical Center – Marshfield.

In a press release on the St. Clare's sale, Bernie Sherry, Ascension senior vice president and Wisconsin ministry market executive, said Ascension Wisconsin made the decision to sell St. Clare's in the context of the "rapidly evolving health care landscape in Wisconsin and nationally."

Dr. Susan Turney, Marshfield Clinic's chief executive, said the acquisition would help Marshfield Clinic to better integrate care in central Wisconsin. She said Marshfield Clinic now is scrapping previously announced plans to build a new hospital in the area.

Ascension Wisconsin operates 24 hospital campuses and a network of other care sites in the state. Marshfield Clinic owns or partly owns eight hospitals, including a children's hospital.

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