MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WJMN) – Essentia Health and Marshfield Clinic Health System announced Wednesday that both organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore a possible merger. Essentia is based in Minnesota with additional locations in Wisconsin and North Dakota, while Marshfield is based in Wisconsin with locations in Minnesota, North Dakota, and the recent addition of the Dickinson County Memorial Hospital in Iron Mountain, now known as Marshfield Medical Center-Dickinson.

According to a release from the two groups, the health systems have complementary geographies and capabilities, which provides an opportunity to collectively enhance the level of care they provide. Should the two combine, they would form a network of 3,500 providers for over two million people in rural and mid-urban communities, including 150 sites of care with 25 hospitals.

“I have known and admired the work of Marshfield Clinic for more than 30 years,” says Essentia CEO Dr. David Herman. “I have always appreciated their ability to advance the well-being of the communities they serve. I am truly excited to work together for the benefit of our patients and our colleagues.”

“This is an exciting opportunity for both our organizations and those we serve,” said Marshfield Clinic Health System CEO Dr. Susan Turney. “These are two of the premier health systems in the country, looking to come together to serve rural communities and beyond. When I look at Essentia, I see an organization with world-class expertise that complements our own. And I see their long, rich history of serving communities with a mission very similar to ours at Marshfield Clinic Health System.”

The memorandum is the first step towards the merger, and the organizations say further information will be released int he future. You can learn more about the health systems at their respective websites marshfieldclinic.org and www.EssentiaHealth.org.