01 Mar Wheaton Franciscan joins Columbia St. Mary’s, Ministry with closing of Ascension deal
It’s final: Two major metro Milwaukee Catholic health care systems — Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare and Columbia St. Mary’s — are under the single ownership of St. Louis-based Ascension Health and preparing to compete with the area’s market-share leader Aurora Health Care.
The closing of the transaction, which was announced Tuesday, combines Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare with Columbia St. Mary’s as well as Milwaukee-based Ministry Health Care.
Glendale-based Wheaton Franciscan and Ascension announced on Oct. 29, 2015, that they signed a letter of intent for the Wheaton Franciscan Wisconsin business to join Ascension. The Wheaton Franciscan Sisters decided to exit the health care business and combine with Ascension, which is the largest nonprofit health system in the United States and the world’s largest Catholic health system.
The two organizations said in October that they expected the transaction to close in the first quarter of 2016.
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare CEO John Oliverio will remain with the organization during a transition period. In response to a question from the Milwaukee Business Journal, Oliverio said via email:
“At Ascension’s request I agreed to stay through a transition period and my retirement date will depend on the speed of the integration. My role will be to assure a smooth transition with key stakeholders.”