Ascension announced Wednesday that its Wisconsin subsidiary will pick up facilities in the southeast part of the state that are owned by the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters.
The acquisition allows Ascension, the largest Catholic health system in the U.S., to expand its Wisconsin arm to 27 hospitals, 150 clinics, and $3.5 billion in annual operating revenue, according to a news release announcing the deal.
Ascension Wisconsin currently includes 19 hospitals under Columbia St. Mary's in Milwaukee and Ministry Health Care in Appleton.
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare's operations include All Saints in Racine; Elmbrook Memorial Campus in Brookfield; St. Joseph and St. Francis in Milwaukee; Wisconsin Heart Hospital and Midwest Spine and Orthopedic Hospital in Wauwatosa; Franklin Hospital and Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital, a joint venture, in Franklin; Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group; outpatient centers; three transitional and extended care facilities; and home health and hospice facilities.
Sister Pat Norton, chair of the sponsor member board for Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, said the sisters decided to transfer the ministries while they were still fiscally sound because the population of the sisterhood is aging and growing smaller.
“The choice to transfer our ministries ensures that the needs of the times will continue to be addressed in each community, as the sisters have worked to do for more than 140 years,” she added.
“Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare and Ascension share the same mission—caring for all persons, especially those who are struggling the most,” Robert Henkel, president and CEO of Ascension Health, the company's healthcare delivery subsidiary, said in the release.
John Oliverio, CEO of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, said the transfer was expected to be completed early next year.
Ascension CEO Anthony Tersigni lauded Oliverio's leadership and said that “under his steady guidance, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare has become an important part of the Catholic healthcare ministry in the United States.”
The Wheaton Franciscan Sisters are also transferring healthcare and housing ministries in Colorado, Illinois and Iowa. They have a total of 14 hospital campuses, three transitional- and extended-care facilities, two home health agencies and 70 clinic sites.