Gundersen Health System and Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center Consider Possible Affiliation



News Release
Immediate Release
February 19, 2020

Media Contacts:
Chris Stauffer, Gundersen Health System
(608) 775-6622,

Jenny Schlagenhaft, Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center
(651) 565-5596


Gundersen Health System and Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center consider possible affiliation
Gundersen Health System and Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center, part of Ascension, are discussing the possibility of a regional affiliation to expand services to patients in and around Wabasha, Minn., and strengthen the current relationship between the organizations.

“Over the last two years, we have enjoyed a very positive relationship with Saint Elizabeth's through some outreach services, including orthopedics, lab and tele-stroke,” says Marilu Bintz, MD, MBA, chief medical officer, Gundersen Health System Critical Access Hospitals and Associated Clinics. “We look forward to exploring the possibility of a mutually beneficial relationship.”

“For quite some time we have been studying new opportunities to establish an alliance with a healthcare system that is geographically and clinically positioned to help Saint Elizabeth’s sustain a strong future of preserving and growing locally based programs and services that meet the changing needs of all people in the communities we are privileged to serve,” states Tom Crowley, CEO, Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center. “Local access to Gundersen specialties has greatly benefited our patients as well as our team of caregivers. A more substantial relationship      would enable us to bring even more services closer to home.”

Work will continue toward an affiliation this year. If an affiliation is finalized, more information will be shared at that time. Gundersen and Saint Elizabeth’s will continue care and services for their respective patients while the possible affiliation is discussed.


About Gundersen Health System

Gundersen Health System is a physician-led, non-profit, comprehensive integrated healthcare network headquartered in La Crosse, Wis. Gundersen has more than 8,000 employees, including more than 900 clinicians, serving 21 counties in western Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota, and northeast Iowa. With more than one million patient visits every year across our six hospitals and more than 60 clinic locations, Gundersen’s purpose is to enhance the health and well-being of our communities and enrich every life we touch. Learn more about excellence in patient care, education, research and something we call Love + Medicine at


About Ascension

Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center (Wabasha, Minn.) is part of Ascension (, a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care. As one of the leading non-profit and Catholic health systems in the U.S., Ascension is committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. In FY2019, Ascension provided $2 billion in care of persons living in poverty and other community benefit programs. Ascension includes approximately 150,000 associates and 40,000 aligned providers. The national health system operates more than 2,600 sites of care – including 150 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities – in 20 states and the District of Columbia, while providing a variety of services including clinical and network services, venture capital investing, investment management, biomedical engineering, facilities management, risk management, and contracting through Ascension’s own group purchasing organization.