Froedtert Heath, based in Milwaukee, and ThedaCare, based in the Fox Valley, have been working on the merger since it was announced in April. The health systems announced Tuesday they will become one organization effective Jan. 1.
It’s the latest hospital merger to get finalized in Wisconsin, as the state has experienced several in recent years. This summer, Marshfield Clinic Health System and Essentia Health entered an agreement with Minnesota-based Essentia Health to create a new health care network serving parts of four states. A little over a year ago, Gundersen Health System and Bellin Health completed a merger, and Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health did the same one day later.
That’s as the health care industry has consolidated substantially over the last two decades, and at a more rapid pace since 2010, according to a 2020 study by Harvard Medical School.
While mergers may have benefits for health systems, Rachel Werner, a health care economist at the University of Pennsylvania, recently told WPR’s “The Morning Show” that mergers in general have a negative effect on prices.
“They tend to increase the price that insurers pay for care for commercially insured individuals, and they don’t really have any improvement in quality,” she said. “Really, what we see are just higher prices — no improvement for patients.”