St. Luke’s, based in Duluth, Minnesota, and Aspirus Health, based in Wausau, Wisconsin, have taken a step closer to merging by signing a definitive agreement to create a formal affiliation, which would result in a new 19-hospital health system.

The proposed affiliation intends to expand rural access to healthcare and advance quality of care for residents of northeastern Minnesota, northern and central Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

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