As hospitals in Wisconsin grapple with a tight labor market and rising costs, mergers offer a chance to improve care coordination and bring together complementary skills.

The latest in a series of recent high-profile hospital mergers was announced last month between Milwaukee-based Froedtert Health and ThedaCare, which is based in Neenah. The two health systems have signed a letter of intent to merge, and plan to complete that process by the end of the year.

About four months earlier, two large hospital mergers were completed between Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health, and Gundersen Health System and Bellin Health, which collectively serve millions of patients across multiple states including Wisconsin. And not long before that, Minnesota-based Essentia Health and Marshfield Clinic Health System had announced discussions on a potential merger.

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