Bellin, Gundersen merger raises five questions for patient care, staff

"Heroes work here" on display in front of Bellin Hospital on April 18, 2020, in Green Bay, Wis.

GREEN BAY – When health care providers announce changes, it can raise questions and concerns among patients, employees and the families of both. 

Bellin Health and Gundersen Health System’s Wednesday announcement they are close to merging is no exception. La Crosse-based Gundersen and Green Bay-based Bellin expect to finalize terms by July before regulators review the combination. 

The two organizations want to form a single entity with 14,000 employees who would annually handle more than 2.5 million patient visits to more than 100 clinics and 11 hospitals. Together, the Gundersen and Bellin service areas include western and northeast Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, southeast Minnesota and northeast Iowa.

In the meantime, Bellin CEO Chris Woleske and Gundersen CEO Scott Rathgaber have sought to address common patient and staff concerns as negotiations continue into the summer.

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