History

Caring for the people of Northeast Wisconsin for more than a century.

Ascension unites Ascension Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh, Ascension St.Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton, and Ascension Calumet Medical Center in Chilton. Ascension also owns and operates Ascension Medical Group, a network of primary care and specialty doctors, and Network Health Plan, a managed care organization.

The Beginning

Ascension traces its roots to 1891, when the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother opened the first hospital in Oshkosh, Wis.  The community desperately needed medical care, and the sisters responded.  In 1899, four Franciscan Sisters from St. Louis undertook a similar mission and established Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton.

After more than a century of providing health care and spiritual support, Ascension Mercy Medical Center and Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital joined to form Affinity Health System in 1995. Ascension has since united with Ascension Calumet Medical Center in Chilton, Network Health Plan, Affinity Medical Group (formerly La Salle Clinic), and Occupational Health Systems.

Expansion and Increased Efficiency

In 1998, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare transferred the purchase of Network Health, a managed care organization with medical clinics and 130,000 HMO enrollees, to Ascension. The same year, Affinity Medical Group (formerly La Salle Clinic), a network of primary care and specialty doctors, became part of Ascension, as did Ascension Calumet Medical Center in Chilton.

The next year, Ascension created an organization-wide mission, vision, values and management philosophy to clearly communicate the goals and Christ-centered direction of the organization. To improve financial operations, Ascension consolidated services including laboratory, materials management, marketing, business development, quality, risk management and compliance. Other reorganizations included transferring Mercy Medical Center’s Home Care Service to Ministry Health Care, selling La Salle Retail Pharmacy to Morton Pharmacies and consolidating anesthesiology services into a single group.

Ascension’s Continued Growth

Ascension established three primary service centers in 2000: Cancer Care, Women & Families and the Heart & Lung Center.

Always at the forefront of technology, in 2000 Affinity, part of Ascension, won a first-place award from Cisco Systems and Modern Healthcare magazine for its state-of-the-art payroll Web application. The same year, installation of new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment at Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital and Ascension Mercy Medical Center made Ascension the only provider of spectroscopy in the Fox Valley. 

Ascension embarked on several new partnerships and expansions in 2001. Ascension and UW Health formed a partnership to bring pediatric specialty services to the new Ascension/UW Children’s Health Center on the campus of Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton. The Ascension Breast Center also opened on the Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital campus. Network Health Plan announced a new preferred provider organization (PPO) panel with Prevea Health Network in Green Bay.

Since then, Ascension has earned a number of other honors, awards and accreditations, including ranking in the Verispan (formerly SMG) Top 100 Integrated Health Network listing nationwide five years in a row.

In 2002, the Ascension Heart & Lung Center was one of ten winners nationwide to achieve the National DREAM (Dream of Reaching Excellence in Anticoagulation Management) Award for anticoagulation treatment.

In 2003, Affinity’s Radiation Oncology programs received three-year accreditation by the American College of Radiology and a new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) opened at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton. The following year, the Post-Crescent, the daily newspaper in Appleton, named Affinity their Business of the Year.

Ascension received the 2005 Institute for Healthcare Communication Program Partner Award for outstanding commitment to improving communication between patients and health care providers. The same year, Ascension joined forces with the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center to open the UW Cancer Centers at Ascension. The partnership brings leading-edge treatment options and nationally-recognized cancer specialists to Affinity clinics and hospitals.

Looking Ahead

Guided by its mission, Ascension will continue to live out the healing ministry of Christ by providing services that promote the health and well being of the communities we serve, especially the poor.

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1506 S. Oneida St
Appleton, WI 54915
(920) 738-2000

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