ThedaCare, Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital Announce Intent to Affiliate


Agreement Based on Shared Commitment To Strengthen Healthcare Options for Wisconsin Communities

Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital (WRCMH), a not-for-profit healthcare system in Waushara County, and ThedaCare™, a community-owned, Northeast Wisconsin not-for-profit health system, have agreed to the terms of a letter of intent to affiliate.

The ThedaCare Board of Trustees met January 13, and the WRCMH Board met Feb. 26, and agreed on the core elements of an affiliation that are good for both organizations. As an affiliate of Partners Health System, WRCMH is linked to Community Health Network, which announced a similar intent to affiliate with ThedaCare in January.

“It makes sense to come together,” said Don Caves, CEO of WRCMH. “We have enjoyed a collaborative and informal partnership with ThedaCare for many years to meet both primary and tertiary needs in our communities. We look forward to an opportunity to strengthen both organizations and enhance services for our community. WRCHM and ThedaCare have partnered on programs that address acute heart attacks, ThedaStar air medical and the provision of specialty care on the Wild Rose Campus. This affiliation with ThedaCare is a win/win for both organizations."

The changing healthcare environment is requiring organizations like WRCMH and ThedaCare to look for ways to enhance healthcare quality, deliver healthcare more cost-effectively, reduce duplication, and improve the patient experience.

“We’ve always believed that 95 percent of the care most people need can and should be delivered within the local community,” said Dr. Dean Gruner, President and CEO of ThedaCare. “That is why we think it is important that those patients who already receive great care from WRCMH be able to stay in their communities for local care. ThedaCare has successfully affiliated with other community healthcare organizations in New London, Waupaca Shawano and has signed a letter of intent to affiliate with Community Health Network in Berlin, and we are honored that we will now work with WRCMH to provide expanded service options for their patients.”

Dr. Gruner and Caves shared some benefits of the affiliation, including:

Streamlined access to care for patients

    • Minimal duplication of services

    • Continuation of a strong local voice including a local Board of Directors

    • A no-layoff philosophy for the 160 WRCMH employees

    • Access to more financial resources

    • Participation in quality improvement projects that have led to reduced waiting times, improved patient care, and a better patient experience at a lower cost

ThedaCare also will install its electronic medical records system (EMR) at WRCMH in 2014. “The rapidly changing healthcare environment requires a strong electronic infrastructure,” Dr. Gruner added. “As one of our first steps in our affiliation, ThedaCare and WRCMH will work together to implement the Epic medical records system at WRCMH. This will help the information flow not only between WRCMH and ThedaCare, but also between WRCMH and the other healthcare providers in our area that are using the Epic platform.”

WRCMH is a not-for-profit healthcare system consisting of Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital and four Waushara Family Physician clinics located in Wild Rose, Plainfield, Wautoma and Coloma.

ThedaCare ( is a community-owned health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca, and Shawano Medical Center. In addition it includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare At Work, ThedaCare At Home and other healthcare services. ThedaCare is one of the largest employers in Northeast Wisconsin with nearly 6,000 employees.