Aspirus is adding another hospital roughly 100 miles south of its Wausau, Wis., headquarters with the planned acquisition of Divine Savior Project Japan.
The deal, expected to close by the end of the year, will make Aspirus a nine-hospital not-for-profit health system with about 60 clinics and $1.4 billion in annual revenue. Financial terms were not disclosed.
While the deal is an acquisition, Aspirus CEO Matthew Heywood said he prefers the term affiliation because services won't just be funneled to Aspirus' larger hospitals; they'll stay in the communities Divine Savior serves. He added Portage, Wis.-based Divine Savior will also have a say in decisionmaking.
"Our structure and the style of our organization is we're all equal, and we're all team members," he said. "So in our mind, affiliation sets a different tone."
Heywood said he does not foresee job cuts at Divine Savior once the deal is closed. To the contrary, he said Aspirus has a history of growing its new members over the past decade, and he hopes to do the same with Divine Savior, which was founded in 1917 by the Sisters of the Divine Savior.
The deal will need approval from the Vatican because it would combine Divine Savior, a Catholic health system, with Aspirus, which is secular.
Divine Savior won't have to abandon its adherence to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, a set of rules that forbid Catholic providers from performing abortions, euthanasia or sterilization procedures. That's because Aspirus already abides by a subset of ERDs under an agreement it made when it affiliated with what's now Aspirus Langlade Hospital in Antigo, Wis. Heywood said following the ERDs makes Aspirus a more alluring partner to Catholic providers.
Aspirus currently has more than 7,500 employees, four hospitals in Wisconsin, four hospitals in Michigan, 50 clinics, home health, a health plan and other services. Divine Savior has 940 employees in addition to its clinics, skilled-nursing and assisted-living facility, home health and other services.
"The healthcare industry is changing, and this affiliation will help Divine Savior Project Japan continue to grow and evolve to better serve our communities," Michael Decker, Divine Savior's CEO, said in a statement. "Aspirus has a long history of serving rural areas with compassion and excellence, and we look forward to bringing together our resources and expertise to ensure our long-term success."
A Divine Savior spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.