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Gundersen Health System and Bellin Health Merger
Gundersen + Bellin

Two systems, one vision

Gundersen Health System and Bellin Health Systems deliver superior primary and specialized care in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Upper Michigan. In 2022, they united to deliver world-class medical care that strengthens patient and community health. Separately, Gundersen and Bellin Health have cared for their communities for more than a century. Our path forward together means we’ll be here for another 100 years and beyond.

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two systems at a glance
Our health systems have been successfully fulfilling our individual missions, but we know that we will thrive and best serve our patients and communities by finding partners with shared missions and strategic visions. This merger brings transformative opportunities to expand our patient-centered care and community-minded work. Together, we can invest resources wisely and efficiently to improve health and well-being in our communities, especially for marginalized individuals and broadly for everyone in our care.
“Gundersen and Bellin provide exceptional care and experience, thanks to incredibly dedicated, passionate and talented clinicians and staff. Combining our outstanding care and incredible people will transform the healthcare experience. The commitment and compassion for patients and the communities we serve is palpable in our system. Coming together will help us expand options to serve the unique needs of all our patients and community members toward a life of better health and well-being.”
CW Portrait
Coming together will allow Bellin Health and Gundersen Health System to better serve our patients and communities, preserving and enhancing a legacy of local, personalized care that will endure for decades to come. We have found a true partner in Gundersen, and we know we will be stronger together.
Building support, together

Community commitment

Part of coming together includes keeping the special events that build our communities. That means you can continue to look forward to: 

  • Steppin’ Out in Pink 
  • Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® Radiothon
  • Bellin Run 
  • Bellin Women’s Half Marathon and 5K 
  • Bellin Health partnership with the Green Bay Packers 
  • And more 
Investment in our future

Your gifts stay at home

When the organizations unite, Gundersen Medical Foundation and Bellin Health Foundation will continue to invest in their service areas. The Foundations’ operations, fundraising efforts and governance will be independent.  

Your questions, answered

How will the merger impact my healthcare?

When we merged, we grew. You’ll still visit the doctors you know and trust. You’ll also have access to more resources and a broader network of top-tier clinical services, shared provider expertise, innovative medical education programs that produce more doctors, nurses and technicians, state-of-the-art technology and digital healthcare tools that bring care options into your home. 

Are both organizations not-for-profit? Do they focus on population health? 

As not-for-profit health systems, Gundersen and Bellin Health champion work in health equity, access to preventive health services and behavioral health or mental well-being support services. Together, we’ll continue to lead advancements in population health—an approach that cares for everyone’s physical health, mental and financial well-being, life at home and more. We are committed to seeing our communities flourish, beyond what we do for patients within our walls.

What does a merger mean for our communities?

Gundersen and Bellin Health invest in our communities. We’re equally proud of that. Together, we'll continue our shared mission to bring health equity, access to preventive health services and needed behavioral health and mental well-being support services to our communities. As not-for-profits, Gundersen and Bellin Health invest more than $210 million each year in the communities they serve. The investment supports organizations and events committed to building community health and well-being, advancing health equity and supporting local economic growth.

What do Gundersen and Bellin have in common?

We both put people first. The people and communities we serve are at the core of our care and service, and our systems’ missions, visions and values complement each other. We each have our own unique clinical and operational strengths, but fundamental to both is quality, experience and affordability in care. 

Will the merger lower my healthcare costs?

Both organizations work to reduce the cost of care and accelerate the pathway to better health outcomes. Together, we'll pursue growth opportunities, participate in lower-cost, value-based care contracts and share resources. Our partnership will bring new opportunities to expand important community-minded work. As not-for-profit healthcare systems, we reinvest profits in patient care and our communities. They’re used to maintain or lower health insurance premiums and improve care outcomes.

What does a merger mean for the employment landscape?

Gundersen and Bellin Health are top employers, but we’re in a tight and dynamic labor market. A partnership can help us recruit and retain more top-tier clinicians and employees. Now more than ever, talented people who feel valued and supported are essential to help us continue our mission of care. Combining the strength of Gundersen’s Medical Education program with the nursing and medical imaging training of Bellin Health through Bellin College, we aim to produce more nurses, radiologists and technicians. We will address clinician needs and nursing shortages together.

Are there any changes for my health insurance? 

Not immediately. Moving forward, Gundersen and Bellin Health will evaluate health plan strategies to deliver the best care at the lowest cost. 

What will you name the new organization?

For now, we’ll keep our names as we explore what impact the merger may have on naming conventions. We’ll do our research before we make any changes.

Who will lead the new organization?

Gundersen CEO Scott Rathgaber, MD, will serve as CEO of the new system. Bellin Health President and CEO Chris Woleske will serve as System Executive Vice President and Regional President of the Bellin Region. Gundersen Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer Heather Schimmers will serve as regional president of the Gundersen region. The chair of the newly formed board is John Dykema, existing chair of the Bellin Health Board of Directors.

Will La Crosse or Green Bay lose its headquarters?

No. Gundersen will still call La Crosse home. Bellin will still call Green Bay home. This is a merger of equals, with a balanced leadership structure that places each of the two top positions — CEO and board chair — in different regions to ensure shared decision-making and equal representation.

1900 South Ave.
La Crosse, WI 54601

(608) 782-7300

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