Marshfield (Wis.) Clinic, already a dominant regional provider, is embarking on two major expansions.
The acquisition of a 70-physician clinic in Wausau, Wis., would strengthen Marshfield in its primary service area, central Wisconsin. It filed pre-merger notification documents for the deal with the Federal Trade Commission in late February.
In a second expansion, Marshfield is negotiating for four clinics with 20 physicians in northwestern Wisconsin. Marshfield could buy the clinics or integrate them into its system in some other fashion, said John Smylie, its director of regional operations.
Marshfield, a 450-physician group practice, must be particularly careful in its acquisitions. The clinic and its HMO were found to have illegally divided markets with competitors in an antitrust lawsuit brought by Blue Cross and Blue Shield United of Wisconsin in 1994. A hearing on damages has been set for April 14.
Smylie said Marshfield expects the FTC to study its acquisition of Wausau Medical Center into April. The two organizations reached agreement on the deal last December. Wausau is a town of 37,000 people in central Wisconsin, just northeast of Marshfield.
Negotiations for the northwestern Wisconsin clinics will continue through spring, Smylie said. The clinics are owned by Group Health Cooperative, an Eau Claire, Wis.-based HMO.
Marshfield and Group Health already share membership in Aegishealth, a year-old joint venture to market an HMO in northwestern Wisconsin. Other Aegishealth partners are 301-bed Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire and 127-bed St. Joseph's Hospital in Chippewa Falls (March 11, 1996, p. 20).
Integrating the Group Health clinics into Marshfield would tighten the Aegishealth delivery system, Smylie said.