Online Staff Report
The entities of University of Wisconsin Health (UW Health), of Madison, Wis., and Rockford’s SwedishAmerican Health Systems, announced Tuesday, April 29, that their respective boards have approved a letter of intent to merge the organizations.
Upon regulatory approval of the merger later this year, SwedishAmerican will become a critical partner in UW Health’s community healthcare delivery model, which is responsive to the major healthcare changes occurring regionally and nationally.
SwedishAmerican and UW Health have had a formal affiliation since 2010. That affiliation has led to the development of the new SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center. The $40 million free-standing center opened to patients last October at a site in northeast Rockford, near I-90 and Riverside Boulevard. As an affiliate, SwedishAmerican also participates in telestroke and electronic Intensive Care Unit (e-ICU) services with UW Health.
“This merger is a logical progression of our successful affiliation of the past four years,” said Dr. Bill Gorski, president and CEO of SwedishAmerican. “By becoming a valued part of the world-class UW Health system, we are excited about what the future holds, despite these uncertain times. The Rockford region, as well as people throughout northern Illinois, will have greater access to the breakthrough research, advanced medical specialties and community health initiatives that earn UW Health national recognition.”
“As UW Health grows, we are looking for partners who share a commitment to promoting the health of the communities they serve, and SwedishAmerican has made that commitment,” said Dr. Jeffrey Grossman, Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and president and CEO of UW Medical Foundation. “As we’ve worked together, we have come to understand that we share common values in our approach to healthcare delivery. We feel very comfortable working with one another.”
Donna Katen-Bahensky, president and CEO of UW Hospital and Clinics, said, “SwedishAmerican has been nationally recognized and honored for its devotion to quality and its superior outcomes. UW Hospital and Clinics is proud to join with such a recognized leader.”
After studying the dynamic healthcare environment, the SwedishAmerican Board of Directors decided that it is critical for community healthcare systems to broaden their reach, reduce their costs, coordinate patient care and have increased access to capital and technology.
“As a Board of community leaders, our priority has been to develop strategies and tactics that ensure outstanding patient care, manage population health, provide for access and investment beyond current capabilities and maintain a meaningful role for local governance,” said SwedishAmerican Board Chairman Dan Loescher. “This partnership meets all of those goals.”
Dr. Gorski will continue to serve as CEO of SwedishAmerican and lead the SwedishAmerican senior leadership team. He will report to both the SwedishAmerican Board and to the Board of University Health Care, Inc., the not-for-profit organization that facilitates relationships with regional hospitals for UW Health.
About UW Health
UW Health is an academic health center anchored by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, in partnership with UW Hospital and Clinics, a 566-bed hospital, and UW Medical Foundation, one of the nation’s largest multi-specialty faculty physician groups
About SwedishAmerican Health System
SwedishAmerican is a not-for-profit, locally governed healthcare system, headquartered in Rockford, Illinois. The health system is comprised of two hospitals, 30 clinics, a home health care agency and a foundation.