SwedishAmerican, UW Health Merger

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UPDATE: UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) – The state’s Health Facilities Planning and Services Review Board has approved the merger between SwedishAmerican and University of Wisconsin Health. UW and Swedes have been working together for five years and now Swedes becomes a division of UW Health.

Bill Gorski with SwedishAmerican Health System says there are gaps in health services here in Rockford, but now that Swedes is merging with UW Health, Gorksi says some of those gaps are being filled, particularly when it comes to cancer surgeons as well as in pediatric care.

"It's been a long time in development and so you get to a day like today and, yeah, it's exciting. I don't think there's any question that part of our conversation with them has been, with their strength behind us, what can we do to expand services here locally beyond what we've been able to do on our own, no question about that,” said Dr. Gorski.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Some changes could be coming to a local hospital as SwedishAmerican and UW Madison announce they would like to join forces on another level.
At this point, there’s no name change for Swedes, however there could be some changes in the next few months.

SwedishAmerican Health Systems is in the beginning stages of merging with UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin. Swedes CEO Dr. Bill Gorski says both agencies still need to figure out details of the deal. However, he says patients will have better access to medical resources that UW has to offer. Gorski says he won’t see any major changes yet when we visit the doctor.

“This has absolutely nothing to do with the relationship you have with your physician. nothing, that should not change a bit.in fact what we would hope over time is that through bringing additional service to the community and accessing them a different way, your experience here locally would become more enhanced,” said Dr. Gorski.

Gorksi says they haven’t determined if this deal will change the SwedishAmerican name or brand. We reached out to Rockford Health Systems, however administrators didn’t want to comment. OSF workers say they’re not surprised by the merger, saying they understand the value of being part of an integrated health care system.

Gorski says Swedes isn’t having any financial problems. He says this deal came as a result of the relationship with UW in the last few years. That relationship led to the regional cancer center which opened in October.

This is not the first attempt at a merger involving a Rockford hospital. In February of 2012. OSF and Rockford Health System announced plans that they would be joining forces to form the OSF northern region, but that was called off a few months later after the federal trade commission challenged the plan claiming that it would form a monopoly in the area. Then in January, Rockford Health Systems called off merger plans with cadence hospital out of the Chicago suburbs.

STATELINE (WIFR) -- SwedishAmerican Health System in Rockford and the University of Wisconsin Health (UW Health) in Madison, WI have announced that their respective boards have approved a letter of intent in which SwedishAmerican will merge with the UW Health system.

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 Blvd. 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.

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