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Gundersen Health System's efforts to bring care closer to home for patients take another leap forward with its first Minnesota Hospital and sixth Critical Access Hospital and associated clinics: Gundersen St. Elizabeth's Hospital and Clinics.

Based in Wabasha, Minn., and serving southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin residents, Gundersen St. Elizabeth's - previously Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center - transitions to Gundersen Health System from Ascension, one of the nation's leading Catholic healthcare systems. In Wisconsin, Ascension operates 24 hospital campuses, more than 100 related healthcare facilities and employs more than 1,300 primary and specialty care clinicians. Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center was originally established by the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, who began their ministry more than 125 years ago.

Gundersen St. Elizabeth's has a hospital in Wabasha; primary care clinics in Wabasha and Alma, Wis.; ER; pharmacy; two long-term care facilities and assisted living apartments; and comprehensive outreach prevention and wellness services.

"We have been strengthened by our prior Critical Access Hospital affiliations, and St. Elizabeth's will be no exception," shares Scott Rathgaber, MD, CEO, Gundersen Health System. "With their continued excellence, together we will expand our vision of enhancing health and well-being in the communities we serve and enriching every life we touch, while bringing care as close to home as possible. This new affiliation combines assets and skills in a way that deepens the excellent care the Wabasha area has come to expect. We are fortunate to have this opportunity to partner with the great people at St. Elizabeth's." 

"A bright future lies ahead for Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center, our caregivers and the communities we serve," says Tom Crowley, CEO, Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center, who will transition to a senior consultant role to lead Saint Elizabeth's Community Development Foundation and remain involved in local, regional and state advisory committees and memberships, along with assisting in a smooth leadership transition. "Our alignment with Gundersen Health System brings new resources to our organization and the strength of a regional network of health services that is committed to growing local care close to home."

"As a new member of the Gundersen family, Gundersen St. Elizabeth's will continue our longstanding commitment to providing exceptional health services and build on a relationship we established with Gundersen years earlier," shares Jim Root, COO, Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center, who will become administrator for Gundersen St. Elizabeth's. "While our name and sponsorship has changed, our dedication to mission-driven, values-based care has not. This remains our top priority. Our team of caregivers will continue to care for our communities and our full continuum of services will remain local resources our patients and residents can count on."

"The services offered at Gundersen St. Elizabeth's are top-notch, but the people are what makes our newest Critical Access Hospital and clinics great," shares Marilu Bintz, MD, MBA, Gundersen Chief Population Health Officer and Chief Medical Officer for Affiliated Critical Access Hospitals and Clinics. "We are looking forward to supporting the great clinicians and great staff at Gundersen St. Elizabeth's to strengthen the already wonderful care being provided to patients in and around Wabasha."

"Our affiliation with Gundersen builds upon an outreach relationship that began several years ago," adds Dennis Spano, MD, Gundersen St. Elizabeth's Medical Director. "Joining a highly respected regional network of care paves the way for new possibilities and opportunities that enable our staff and caregivers to fulfill their passion of providing exceptional care and compassion to everyone we are privileged to serve." 

Gundersen has experience investing in rural healthcare with five Critical Access Hospitals and associated clinics. They are Gundersen Boscobel; Gundersen Moundview; Gundersen Palmer Lutheran; Gundersen St. Joseph's; and Gundersen Tri-County.

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