History

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

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

The Beginning

Affinity Health System 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 St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton.

After more than a century of providing health care and spiritual support, Mercy Medical Center and St. Elizabeth Hospital joined to form Affinity Health System in 1995.  Affinity has since united with 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 Affinity. The same year, Affinity Medical Group (formerly La Salle Clinic), a network of primary care and specialty doctors, became part of Affinity, as did Calumet Medical Center in Chilton.

The next year, Affinity 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, Affinity 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.

Affinity’s Continued Growth

Affinity Health System 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 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 St. Elizabeth Hospital and Mercy Medical Center made Affinity Health System the only provider of spectroscopy in the Fox Valley. 

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

Since then, Affinity 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 Affinity Health System 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.

Affinity 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, Affinity joined forces with the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center to open the UW Cancer Centers at Affinity Health System. The partnership brings leading-edge treatment options and nationally-recognized cancer specialists to Affinity clinics and hospitals.

Looking Ahead

Guided by its mission, Affinity 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.

Contact Us

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

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