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SSM Health

SSM Health, which owns St. Mary's Hospital and Dean Clinic in Madison, plans to acquire Monroe Clinic and Agnesian HealthCare in Fond du Lac.

SSM Health, which owns St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, Dean Clinic and hospitals in Baraboo and Janesville, plans to acquire Monroe Clinic and Agnesian HealthCare, which includes the hospitals in Fond du Lac, Ripon and Waupun.

The Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, or CSA, which owns Monroe Clinic and Fond du Lac-based Agnesian, has signed a letter of intent to transfer ownership to SSM Health, likely by January, said Sister Jean Steffes, general superior of CSA.

The move would give St. Louis-based SSM Health more of a presence in southern and eastern Wisconsin as health care organizations in Wisconsin and around the country continue to consolidate and form partnerships to prepare for changes in medical payments.

“It’s going to allow all of us together to further expand our access to affordable, high quality, community based care,” said Laura Kaiser, president and CEO of SSM Health.

Steffes said the last two sisters of CSA on staff at Monroe Clinic have retired, and only four remain at St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac.

“Our whole ability to be involved on the care level has changed dramatically,” she said. “It’s time for CSA to transfer sponsorship to an organization that, while larger and more diverse than we are, holds a mission and values (that are) very similar.”

Joining with SSM Health “gives us a good approach towards long-term sustainability, continued viability and, yet, responsiveness to local communities,” Steffes said.

Monroe Clinic, in Monroe, south of Madison, is a hospital with 58 beds. It also has 12 clinic locations, a home care and hospice agency and retail and urgent care clinics.

Agnesian includes St. Agnes Hospital, which has 175 beds, Ripon Medical Center and Waupun Memorial Hospital, each with 25 beds, and other services, such as a rehabilitation center.

The facilities will likely be renamed under the SSM Health brand, said Steve Little, Agnesian CEO.

A due diligence process is expected to last through September, with approvals needed from organizational boards and state and federal agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission.

Madison-based Dean Clinic merged in 2013 with SSM Health, which owns St. Clare Hospital in Baraboo and St. Mary’s Hospital-Janesville, in addition to St. Mary’s in Madison.

Meriter Hospital in Madison became part of Iowa-based UnityPoint Health in 2014. This month, UnityPoint Health-Meriter started a joint operating agreement with UW Health, and the two organizations have merged their health insurance plans.

In 2014, UW Health acquired SwedishAmerican in Rockford, Illinois.


David Wahlberg is the health and medicine reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.