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Gundersen and Bellin hospital systems celebrate official start of medical merger



Rick Solem
FILE - Gundersen Health System, La Crosse, Wis.

A medical partnership announced six months ago is now in effect throughout Wisconsin and other states. 


Bellin Health of Green Bay and Gundersen Health System of La Crosse are officially merged now, representing 11 hospitals and more than 100 clinics. 

The chief officers of both companies — Scott Rathgaber from Gundersen and Chris Woleske from Bellin — celebrated the merger in a joint online event Thursday. 

Woleske said her company and Gundersen have learned much about each other in the six months since the merger was first announced.

“We’ve planned together, organized together, had some fun together, and even gotten to know the little details that make each of us special,” Woleske said.

Wolske is now the chief operating officer of the combined company, while Rathgaber serves as chief executive officer. Both will continue to work in the cities where they’re already based.


The hospital officials say both firms will keep their current names and medical locations for now.

“At Bellin and Gundersen, we go together,” Rathgaber said. “We take love, plus medicine, and put it to work for the people and communities we serve.”

Woleske added that there’s no intention to downsize either Bellin or Gundersen, but to find ways to grow their services through the region.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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