Aspirus Health hosts welcome celebration at St. Mary’s Hospital
By Star Journal Staff
RHINELANDER – St. Mary’s Hospital in Rhinelander was one of several hospital locations to formally celebrate joining Aspirus Health during a welcome event Thursday, Sept. 16.
Hospital and Clinic leaders joined with employees and community partners as part of a system-wide celebration for the seven hospitals, 21 clinics, air and ground transport services and 2,700 colleagues who became part of the Aspirus system last month.
“Today we celebrate St. Mary’s Hospital joining the Aspirus Health family,” said Matt Heywood, president and chief executive officer of Aspirus Health. “The growth we celebrate today enables us to provide unparalleled care, with more coordination and more convenience, to thousands more people in the rural communities that make this region so special.”
St. Mary’s Hospital has been serving Rhinelander and surrounding communities for over 125 years. Heywood said adding it to the Aspirus network creates a more cohesive and integrated level of care.
“For eight years since I’ve been here with Aspirus we’ve been working towards this opportunity to take two organizations that have been competing, bringing them together to work more efficiently for the care of our communities is a great opportunity,” Heywood said.
“The care team at St. Mary’s Hospital is very fortunate to be joining Aspirus Health – an organization that shares our values, our commitment to local communities, and our dedication to rural health care.” Said Laurie Oungst, vice president and chief administrative officer at St. Mary’s.
Rhinelander Mayor Chris Frederickson is also a respiratory care practitioner at the hospital. He said the event was a celebration of joining teams ind moving in the direction toward strong rural care.
“My people mean the most to me,” Frederickson said. “I’m definitely a person who wears my heart on my sleeve and I care about them – it’s never been hidden, and having good health care, exceptional health care is a top priority and I’m glad it happened.”
The name of St. Mary’s and the former Ascension Wisconsin clinics serving the area will remain the same for the immediate future, although on site signs now indicate that they have joined Aspirus Health. Ultimately, facility names will be changed to reflect the Aspirus brand. By December 2021 all signs and materials will reflect the new Aspirus facility names.