Divine Savior in Wisconsin joins nine-hospital Aspirus

April 1, 2020

Divine Savior Healthcare of Portage, Wisconsin, has joined Aspirus, a nine-hospital, not-for-profit system based in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Under the arrangement, Aspirus last month acquired the 52-bed hospital called Divine Savior Healthcare along with its skilled nursing and assisted living facility, clinics, home health services, an ambulance service and other sites and services.

Aspirus is not releasing financial details of the acquisition.

The Sisters of the Divine Savior had founded the Portage hospital in 1917. Under Aspirus' ownership, the sisters no longer sponsor the hospital, and the hospital no longer is operated as a Catholic facility. The names of the hospital and related facilities will be changed.

However, according to information from Aspirus spokesman Andy Napgezek, Aspirus has "committed to maintaining certain practices important to both the sisters and Aspirus." This includes maintaining a health care ethics committee; continuing Divine Savior Healthcare charity care, community benefits and community outreach; supporting certain Sisters of the Divine Savior ministries; promoting the sisters' charism and core values; continuing spiritual care offerings; retaining the chapel; and displaying crucifixes and Catholic artwork and iconography.

Divine Savior Healthcare is the second Catholic hospital to join Aspirus. In 2007, Aspirus acquired Langlade Memorial Hospital of Antigo, Wisconsin, now called Aspirus Langlade Hospital.

According to information from Aspirus' Napgezek, Divine Savior Healthcare will continue to have its own board of directors, adhering to Aspirus bylaws. The number of seats on that local board will increase from 10 to 13. Most members of the legacy board will remain in place. The sisters now will appoint one member to the board, rather than the two they had appointed in the past. And, two physicians and two Aspirus members now will sit on the board. The Aspirus system board holds certain reserve powers over the local board.

The Sisters of the Divine Savior had approached Aspirus because they wanted to join a larger system. According to information from Napgezek, there is strong alignment between Divine Savior Healthcare and Aspirus. He said that the congregation had founded health care ministries around Wausau that would later form Aspirus. Currently, Aspirus' network includes hospitals and clinics and other outpatient sites in Michigan and Wisconsin. Aspirus has two hospitals within
80 miles of Divine Savior Healthcare.

In a press release on the acquisition, Michael Decker, president and chief executive of Divine Savior Healthcare, said that now, as part of a larger system, Divine Savior Healthcare will be able to bring new resources to the communities it serves. Napgezek added that it is likely Aspirus will expand Divine Savior Healthcare's workforce and services in the future.



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