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St. Luke’s completes affiliation with Aspirus; Prep Sports Notebook

This will improve patient outcomes, provide more cost-effective services and advance the overall quality of health care.

Left to right is Dr. Nicholas Van Deelen, St. Luke’s Board Chair Yvonne Prettner Solon, Matt Heywood, St. Luke’s Board Member Anna Sackette Urness, and Eric Lohn. Submitted / St. Luke's

St. Luke’s has officially completed its affiliation with Wausau, Wisconsin-based Aspirus Health.

The expanded health system now operates 19 hospitals and 130 outpatient locations with nearly 14,000 team members, including 1,300 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians across northeastern Minnesota, northern and central Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The system will operate headquarters in Wausau and maintain a corporate office in Duluth.

The combined system will collaborate in clinical care, sharing medical knowledge and resources to improve care coordination and increase patient access for a broad region. This will improve patient outcomes, provide more cost-effective services and advance the overall quality of health care.


“We are proud to welcome St. Luke’s and Lake View to the Aspirus family,” said Matt Heywood, Aspirus Health President and CEO. “Our collective strengths will improve health for our communities, and we look forward to what the future holds for our patients, staff and all who rely on our system for excellent care. Our combined team can now begin working together as champions for the future of health in our communities.”

Van Deelen

“Today is a historic day,” said Nicholas Van Deelen, MD, St. Luke’s Co-President. “From our founding in 1881, St. Luke’s has built a legacy as a patient-focused organization above all else. We are proud to join Aspirus Health to advance services and access in our region. Our like-minded cultures and values are rooted in serving people. The completion of our affiliation will benefit our employees, partners and the communities we serve for generations to come.”


“We see our affiliation with Aspirus Health as a continuation of our mission and passion to care for our patients and communities,” said Eric Lohn, St. Luke’s Co-President. “Together, we are stronger, and we will grow and transform to meet the changing needs of our communities. We thank all those involved in making this affiliation a reality.”

Both Aspirus and St. Luke’s have worked diligently since announcing a letter of intent to affiliate last summer, including signing a definitive agreement, completing due diligence and participating in a public forum with the Minnesota Attorney General’s office in Duluth last fall. The affiliation has satisfied all necessary governmental notices, waiting periods and approvals, and completed the Minnesota Attorney General's review process.

“We appreciate the support this affiliation received from all officials involved,” Heywood said.

Heywood will continue to serve as President and CEO of Aspirus Health, and Van Deelen and Lohn will continue to serve as Co-Presidents of St. Luke’s. 

As part of the affiliation, Aspirus commits to:   

. Honor all physician, labor and union contracts. 

. Invest at least $300 million over eight years to fund St. Luke’s strategic projects.  

. Implement the Epic electronic medical record platform and other standard systems to promote integration and efficiency within 24 months.

. Expand Aspirus Health Plan into St. Luke’s service area within two years, subject to regulatory constraints and timelines, to promote coordinated, cost-efficient and effective delivery of health care services to its members.

“Patient care and services will continue as usual. Patients can continue seeing their current providers to receive the high-quality, compassionate care they always have,” Van Deelen said. “The clinic locations, phone numbers and how you interact with us on a day-to-day basis will not change. As we make enhancements over the coming months, we will keep our patients and communities informed.” 

Together, St. Luke’s and Aspirus will be an innovative, forward-looking system that will transform to meet the health needs of the changing region. 

About Aspirus  

Aspirus Health is a nonprofit, community-directed health system based in Wausau, Wisconsin, serving northeastern Minnesota, northern and central Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The health system operates 19 hospitals and 130 outpatient locations with nearly 14,000 team members, including 1,300 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians. Learn more at


Duluth Marshall sophomore guard Mariah Lucero dished off a pass to a teammate while being knocked to the floor by Pillager senior guard Alayna Kavanaugh in a Section 7AA opening round game on Thursday night at Marshall Gym. The Hilltoppers won 86-35 and will face Mesabi East in a quarterfinal Saturday at 4 p.m. at Duluth Denfeld. Howie /

Thursday Results

Section 7AA Girls Basketball (Opening Round)

Duluth Marshall 86, Pillager 35

Mesabi East 58, Moose Lake-Willow River 19

Hinckley-Finlayson 61, Barnum 38

Crosby-Ironton 99, Aitkin 22

Esko 92, International Falls 32

Proctor 76, Staples-Motley 38

Pierz 62, Greenway 23

Pequot Lakes 67, Two Harbors 21

Prep Boys Basketball (Regular Season)

Cloquet 93, Proctor 53

Annandale 74, Esko 73

Cherry 98, Rock Ridge 74

Two Harbors 75, Floodwood 36

Chisholm 65, Nashwauk-Keewatin 57

Carlton/Wrenshall 80, Fond du Lac Ojibwe 67

Prep Boys Hockey (Section 7AA Final)

Grand Rapids 3, Andover 2, 2 OTs


Prep Boys Basketball (Regular Season)

Hermantown at Duluth East

Barnum at Two Harbors

Pillager at Moose Lake-Willow River

Mesabi East at Cherry