Planned merger of Marshfield Clinic and Essentia Health called off

After 2 years of discussion, planned merger is off between organizations that serve 2M patients in Wisconsin and Midwest

Marshfield Medical Center
The Marshfield Medical Center is photographed on July 26, 2023, in Marshfield, Wis. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says it will permanently reimburse hospitals for most video and audio telehealth services offered to Medicaid patients — as long as the quality of virtual appointments matched in-person services. Drake White-Bergey / Wisconsin Watch

Two health care organizations have pulled the plug on a planned merger that would have affected about 2 million patients in Wisconsin and three other Midwest states.

Marshfield Clinic Health System and Essentia Health said Friday they will not move forward with a planned merger.

The organizations announced in 2022 that they signed a memorandum of understanding exploring a merger. In July, they said they had entered an agreement to form an “integrated health system across four states,” with plans to complete the process by the end of 2023.

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On Friday, they issued a joint statement saying that after two years of discussion, the merger was off.

“We have decided that a combination at this time is not the right path forward for our respective organizations, colleagues and patients,” the statement said.

Wisconsin-based Marshfield operates 11 hospitals and 60 clinics, with more than 1,600 providers in the state and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Based in Duluth, Essentia has 15,500 employees in Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota.

According to their statement, the two organizations plan to look for ways to continue to collaborate.

“As we now move our separate ways, Marshfield Clinic looks forward to advancing our 100-year legacy of providing compassionate and accessible care to the communities we serve,” said Dr. Brian Hoerneman, interim CEO of Marshfield. “Our commitment to continually enhance the level of care we provide remains firmly in place as we look to the future.”

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