Gundersen Health System and Marshfield Clinic Health System are discussing how the two organizations might come together to collectively enhance the level of care across Wisconsin, northeast Iowa and southeastern Minnesota.

The two organizations will spend the coming months working out details of a possible merger that could create a health system led by more than 2,000 clinicians and with more than 18,000 total employees, all committed to lowering the cost of care, creating an exceptional patient experience and delivering high-quality care and the best outcomes for patients.

While Marshfield Clinic Health System and Gundersen Health System already have a similar mission, vision and values, both organizations realize the unique opportunity. The combined strength through a merger could bring together the best pieces of both organizations in today’s highly competitive and ever-changing healthcare environment.

“Over the last few years, we have worked relentlessly to position ourselves for the future and create a better framework for serving our patients and communities,” said Susan Turney, MD, chief executive officer, Marshfield Clinic Health System. “While at the same time, the disruption in the industry and competitive nature of healthcare has made it vital we construct a dynamic and strong integrated health system. This merger would give us an opportunity to combine the unique strengths of our systems to become the preeminent rural healthcare organization in the country.”

Providing great care for patients, their families and communities are top priorities for each organization, along with improving access to quality healthcare. Gundersen Health System and Marshfield Clinic Health System have spent years improving healthcare access in rural areas through telehealth services, the enhancement of Critical Access Hospitals and clinics in small communities, recruiting and retaining clinicians to practice in rural areas, and many other initiatives.

“We realize the success of our journey to provide high-quality, outstanding experience, and affordable care to enrich lives and enhance the health of the communities we serve relies on working with many partners in a variety of ways,” said Scott Rathgaber, MD, chief executive officer, Gundersen Health System. “This opportunity to unite promises the potential to magnify our impact and bring our care model to even more communities by leveraging the strengths of two mission-driven systems with more than a century of commitment to rural healthcare.”

If they were to merge, Marshfield Clinic Health System and Gundersen Health System would have more than 18,000 employees, 13 hospitals and more than 100 clinics, which includes medical clinics, eye centers, dental centers, urgent care locations and pharmacies.