Aspirus Health Announces Letter of Intent With St. Luke’s - Duluth to Expand Health Care Access Across the Region

Proposal for St. Luke’s to affiliate with Aspirus Health to advance health care quality and expand access to services in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan 

Aspirus Health is excited to announce that St. Luke’s has signed a letter of intent to affiliate with Aspirus. By affiliating with St. Luke’s, based in Duluth, MN, our organizations will expand access to care for more people across our region in northeastern Minnesota, northern and central Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

This affiliation will grow our impact and goal of improving the health and wellbeing of every patient and community we serve.
St. Luke’s is a like-minded health system that fits together with Aspirus’ patient-first mission. The affiliation means Aspirus and St. Luke’s can expand our impact, invest in infrastructure, and improve the health of people it serves. 

This agreement will enable both organizations to build on their collective strengths and specialties to create a broader health network patients can count on, as well as expanded opportunities for each organization's dedicated staff.

Patient-Centered Care Will Remain

Aspirus’ focus will always be on providing the best care for their patients. Through this broadened network, Aspirus and St. Luke’s will work to standardize clinical protocols as well as develop groundbreaking research to improve the lives of patients and families.

Together the new organization will operate 19 hospitals and 130 outpatient locations, with nearly 14,000 team members, including more than 1,300 affiliated, independent, and employed physicians and advance practice providers. The system will operate headquarters in Wausau, WI and also maintain corporate offices in Duluth, MN.

For more information, read the full announcement here

By aligning our organizations, Aspirus and St. Luke’s are confident that both our communities and employees will experience significant benefits, such as:

  • Affiliation with a like-minded system that will build upon and strengthen the cultures and success of both organizations.
  • Our combined organizations will preserve, improve and even expand vital local health care services, while focusing on maintaining high-quality care, providing exceptional patient experiences and maximizing value for patients.
  • This will enable increased collaboration and further investments in our infrastructure and people.
  • We will provide growth opportunities for our workforce and honor existing employment and union and labor contracts.
  • We will build on our efforts to attract and retain a pipeline of high-quality residents, physicians, APCs, nurses and other health care professionals.
  • Patients will also have access to competitive health insurance plans in Minnesota via the Aspirus Health Plan. 

Quality Care for Patients and Community Members Remains

As this affiliation process continues to evolve, St. Luke’s and Aspirus patients will continue to receive exceptional care from the physicians and teams they know and trust. Nothing changes in how patients or health plan members receive care at either organization.

Upon a definitive agreement and deal close, St. Luke’s will remain a major care delivery hub for the region, a role that will benefit from the successful care model Aspirus has developed through its current footprint.

Next Steps

Aspirus Health and St. Luke’s hope to complete the affiliation process, following all due diligence and regulatory reviews, in early 2024. Each organization will keep its communities informed as updates are available. 

For more information, please see the official joint announcement here.

We look forward to this affiliation creating a bright future for health in our region.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What does this mean for patients and the community?

Affiliating with St. Luke’s will expand services that are vital for the region and rural communities. In doing so, Aspirus will pursue our goal of improving the health and wellbeing of every patient we serve. This combined, strengthened entity will allow us to build upon the collective strengths of each organization in a way that ultimately creates a stronger health care system in the region. Together we will provide patients with access to 19 hospitals, more than 130 clinics, and nearly 14,000 employees, including nearly 1,300 physicians and advanced practice clinicians.

Can patients still use the same physicians and care facilities?

There will be no impact on patients, the physicians they see or care facilities where they receive care at either organization.

Will my insurance still be accepted?

There will be no impact on patients, the physicians they see or the care facilities where they receive services. Patients can still see their same doctors and use their same health plan.

Will care for patients change?

Joining together will allow both health systems to maintain and enhance our exceptional quality and patient experience.

Will my health care now be more expensive?

Aspirus has a proven track record of keeping costs lower than most other health systems in Wisconsin, and this has continued to occur when it affiliates with other health systems.