- Associated Press - Thursday, August 7, 2014

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) - Six major Wisconsin health care organizations are forming a partnership to reduce costs and improve care.

Gundersen Health System Vice President Mark Platt says the partnership is not a merger. The six organizations will remain separate but they may work together to buy equipment or hire information technology services so that they can get better deals and reduce costs.

Platt says the partnership announced Wednesday also will form a committee to share best practices and improve health care quality.

The most immediate effect is a new insurance plan offered by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and accepted by all six health care organizations.

They are La Crosse-based Gundersen, Aspirus of Wausau, Milwaukee-based Aurora Health Care, Bellin Health in Green Bay, Appleton-based ThedaCare and UW Health in Madison. Collectively, they serve nine out of 10 Wisconsin residents.

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