Essentia Health, Marshfield Clinic Health System announce merger discussions

Essentia Health is more broadly based in Minnesota and North Dakota
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 12:08 PM CDT
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(WSAW) - Essentia Health and Marshfield Clinic Health System announced Wednesday they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to evaluate how the two organizations might combine to form an integrated regional health system.

The Memorandum of Understanding is the first step toward a potential merger.

7 Investigates looked into concerns from some employees last month that MCHS would soon be up for sale, however, a spokesperson said at the time that was not true. Given that previous concern, 7 investigates pressed when the merger talks were announced.

MCHS spokesperson John Gardner responded “Our motivation to pursue a merger and our choice of merger partner are strategic and arise from conversations which began in earnest in January.  Our leaders and Essentia’s leaders are motivated to employ a merger of equals to create a premier integrated health system serving rural populations across the northern tier.”

According to a news release, a combined organization would feature a diverse network of 3,500 providers serving more than two million people in rural and mid-urban communities through more than 150 sites of care, including 25 hospitals.

Marshfield Clinic Health System and Essentia are discussing possibly merging together. This is...
Marshfield Clinic Health System and Essentia are discussing possibly merging together. This is a map of all of the locations spanning across the upper Midwest.(Marshfield Clinic, Essentia)

“I have known and admired the work of Marshfield Clinic for more than 30 years,” says Essentia CEO Dr. David Herman. “I have always appreciated their ability to advance the well-being of the communities they serve. I am truly excited to work together for the benefit of our patients and our colleagues.”

Dr. Herman emphasizes that the two health systems are fortunate to share common values and embrace a mission-driven approach to health care that extends beyond our facilities. “Through a new partnership, we can support the care models, services, research and technologies to ensure sustainable and thriving rural health care,” he says.

“This is an exciting opportunity for both our organizations and those we serve,” said Marshfield Clinic Health System CEO Dr. Susan Turney. “These are two of the premier health systems in the country, looking to come together to serve rural communities and beyond. When I look at Essentia, I see an organization with world-class expertise that complements our own. And I see their long, rich history of serving communities with a mission very similar to ours at Marshfield Clinic Health System.”

Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Scott Larson said he also believes this could be a positive change.

“Anything that’s going to create more stability and promote the opportunity for growth for those organizations certainly means more stability and growth and opportunities for each of the communities that they serve -- and particular, here in Marshfield as the headquarters for the Marshfield Clinic Health System,” he said.

Both systems said they would share more details as the conversations progress.