SSM Health Care OKs Dean Health Systems purchase

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UPDATED Tuesday, September 3, 2013--6p.m.
MADISON--Dean and SSM have been working together for about a century, but now for the first time, their employees are greeting each other as co-workers. "Dean Health Plan, Dean Health System and SSM have worked very closely together for the last 20 years or so but we have been separate organizations," said Bill Thompson, the president and CEO of SSM Health Care.

Thompson said SSM and Dean had jointly owned the health plan, but now they're officially going to be one integrated team. "First and foremost the patients who've used us historically will see no change in the quality of care they are currently receiving, whether it be at Dean or St. Mary's," he said.

Thompson also said the merger should be virtually invisible to patients--and that you should continue using the resources you've been using--like their respective websites.

He said the move is intended to help better coordinate care and could ultimately lower the cost of care. "By trying to work collectively to keep patients healthier and ultimately keep them out of the hospital, keep them out of the high cost venues of care," he said.

He also said that a lot of the benefits from the merger will be to behind-the-scenes departments like planning, finance and human resources. For areas of overlap, we wanted to know what that will mean for employees. "Over the next few months we will work very carefully to make sure that anything that we do will have as little disruption to employees as possible," he said. "But I can't guarantee that there won't be some changes, some disruptions in the future, I think that's just inevitable."

Thompson wasn't able to comment on how many employees could be affected. Though he did say that some of these changes might have happened anyway, even without the merger, because of the changes going on in health care right now.

Posted Tuesday, September 3, 2013 --- 1:34 p.m.

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A St. Louis-based Catholic health care provider has finalized its merger with a Wisconsin health company.

SSM Health Care announced its purchase of the Dean Health Systems group of Madison, Wis., in April. The merger took effect on Sept. 1 after receiving regulatory and shareholder approval

The nonprofit SSM operates 18 hospitals in Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. Dean Health Systems is a physician-owned organization with more than 60 clinics, plus eye care and pharmacy operations.

In Wisconsin, SSM's St. Mary's Hospital in Madison has been open since 1912. It also owns St. Clare Hospital in Baraboo, St. Mary's Janesville Hospital in Janesville, St. Mary's Care Center in Madison and St. Clare Meadows Care Center in Baraboo.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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