Gundersen Health System part of new statewide partnership - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Gundersen Health System part of new statewide partnership

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

Gundersen Health System is known for partnering with the community. Its teamed up with the county, the La Crosse Medical Health Science Consortium and area schools.

Wednesday the hospital announced its biggest collaboration yet: A partnership with five other Wisconsin health care systems.

Gundersen is joining forces with Aspirus, Aurora Health Care, Bellin Health, ThedaCare and UW Health

Together the group services about 90 percent of Wisconsin patients and parts of four other states.

"We will be able to pull on the best ideas from all these other very successful centers,” said Gundersen Health System CEO Jeff Thompson.

According to Thompson, the partnership is a chance for the systems to increase quality, keep costs low, but most importantly, learn from each others successes.

"All the members of this partnership have a strong track record of measuring their quality and improving it,” he said, citing UW Health's strong research division and Bellin's strong connection with the community.

"When we started these specific discussions, the beautiful thing was that everyone was talking about how to impact their community in a way that would improve it's health and improve the quality of it's patients,” said Mark Platt, senior vice president of business services at Gundersen.

This partnership is not a merger.

“The organizations that do that get all caught up in where is the money going and who's in charge,” Thompson said.

Thompson also mentioned keeping costs low by addressing social determinants. That includes working to eliminate alcohol, tobacco and obesity-related problems.

The health care systems will meet every other month to share ideas.

Thompson has been chosen as the chair of the partnership's board of directors. As of Tuesday, he's been with Gundersen for 30 years.

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Six major Wisconsin health care organizations, which includes Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, are forming a partnership to reduce costs and improve care for most of the state.

Gundersen Health System Vice President Mark Platt says the partnership is not a merger. The six organizations will remain separate but they may work together to buy equipment or hire information technology services so that they can get better deals and reduce costs. Platt says the partnership announced Wednesday also will form a committee to share best practices and improve health care quality.

The most immediate effect is a new insurance plan offered by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and accepted by all six health care organizations.

Besides Gundersen Health System, the other members are Wausau-based Aspirus, Milwaukee-based Aurora Health Care, Green Bay-based Bellin Health and Appleton-based ThedaCare. Collectively, they serve nine out of 10 Wisconsin residents.

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