Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services is buying a medical practice with three clinics in western Wisconsin, a deal that adds to the trend of Minnesota-based health care groups seeking more patients east of the St. Croix River.
Fairview did not release financial terms for its purchase of Vibrant Health Family Clinics, which includes 12 doctors, four advanced practice providers and a total of 93 employees.
The medical group’s largest office is in River Falls — roughly 40 miles east and slightly south of the Twin Cities — where Minneapolis-based Allina Health runs the town hospital. Vibrant Health also includes smaller clinics in Ellsworth and Spring Valley.
“This is an exciting step forward for our system as we extend the reach of our high-quality care to the people of Western Wisconsin,” said Eric Nelson, president of the primary care service line for Fairview, in a statement.
Fairview is one of the state’s largest operators of hospitals and clinics. The nonprofit group runs the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis and Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina. Last year, Fairview reported operating income of $96.7 million on $5.6 billion in revenue.
Vibrant Health is scheduled to become part of Fairview on Aug. 1.
“For Vibrant, becoming part of a growing health system offers many opportunities,” said Dr. Keri Lijewski, the president of Vibrant Health, in a statement. This new relationship will provide access to advanced specialty care and the potential to develop new clinical programs to better serve our communities in the future.”
In 2017, Fairview merged with St. Paul-based HealthEast, which offered cardiology services in River Falls at a clinic where Fairview currently provides durable medical equipment. Last year, Fairview announced it would begin providing consulting services to Burnett Medical Center in Grantsburg, Wis., located about 70 miles north of River Falls.
Bloomington-based HealthPartners has hospitals and clinics in the western Wisconsin towns of Amery, Hudson and New Richmond. When Regions Hospital, which is part of HealthPartners, sought legislative approval last year for more licensed hospital beds, officials cited the growing number of patients coming from western Wisconsin.
Last year, the Rochester-based Mayo Clinic asked the planning commission in Hudson, Wis., for a conditional-use permit to develop a 100,000-square-foot medical facility on about 9 acres of vacant land near Interstate 94. But a Mayo official told the Star Tribune earlier this year that there were no plans to build on the land.
“The land is still there,” said Dennis Dahlen, the chief financial officer at Mayo. “It’s there for future expansion, should that be a location we wanted to grow into.”