Partnership Leads to Successful First Year of Specialty Growth and Recruitment

January 10, 2016

Wausau, WI – January 10, 2017 – More than a year ago, leaders from Ministry Health Care, part of Ascension, and Medical College Physicians embarked on a journey to form a partnership to expand health care services in central and northern Wisconsin. 

A key component of this partnership was the recruitment of Medical College specialty care physicians to bring their clinical expertise and services to Ministry Health Care facilities in Wausau/Weston and the surrounding metro area. Leaders from the two organizations shared the success of the first year of the partnership with local leaders during a visit to Ministry Saint Clare’s Hospital in Weston on Tuesday, January 10.

“We are pleased with the initial progress of recruitment and employment of Medical College Physicians who now live and practice in the metro Wausau area,” said John Rhee, MD, MPH, CEO of Medical College Physicians.

Since July 1, 2016, 11 Medical College Physicians have launched their specialty practices in Weston. Eight more are scheduled to come aboard in the coming months, with additional recruitment efforts ongoing. These additions have broadened the specialty services available at Ministry Saint Clare’s in key service areas like cardiology, pulmonary and critical care medicine, oncology, nephrology and surgery.  

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, gastroenterology and dermatology are key services that will be added in 2017 to further enhance clinician partnerships to deliver high quality, cost effective specialty care in Weston.

“These successful recruitment efforts and addition of specialty services are key components of our growth strategy to increase access to services at Ministry Saint Clare’s,” Bernie Sherry, Senior Vice President/Ministry Market Executive, Ascension Wisconsin.

As part of this growth strategy, Ascension is making a multi-million dollar investment in the Weston Regional Medical Center. This includes a 24 inpatient bed addition that will increase the intensive and critical care units; the addition of a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber to launch a comprehensive wound healing program; a cancer center addition and a 38,000 square foot remodeling and expansion that will nearly double the size of the Weston clinic, which is home to the Medical College Physicians. 

Recruitment of physicians in these key service areas has proven fruitful for a number of reasons. 

Dr. Thomas Klinkhammer, a Medical College Physicians hematology/oncology specialist, was born in Wausau and grew up as a twin in a family of eight on a farm in the Wisconsin Rapids area. 

“Returning to central Wisconsin has been rewarding for me both personally and professionally,” said Klinkhammer. “I am pleased to work in an environment that allows me to strive for the best possible outcomes for my patients.”

The partnership has also been expanded beyond the Wausau area, as Medical College oncologists are providing outreach to Ministry run cancer centers in Stevens Point, Merrill and Rhinelander. Cardiologists are also seeing patients in Stevens Point and Rhinelander.

Likewise, Medical College Physicians will be establishing outreach schedules at the new Ascension Medical Group at Westwood, which will be opening later this month. This 48,000 square foot clinic will provide the greater Wausau area with an array of services including primary and specialty care, lab, X-ray, pharmacy, occupational medicine, physical and occupational therapy, and will be the first Ascension Medical Group clinic in the nation.

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About Medical College Physicians

Medical College Physicians has more than 1,200 physicians, advanced practice providers, and psychologists who deliver compassionate, expert care to adult patients across 38 medical specialties. Medical College Physician providers practice at five health systems, ten hospitals, and 38 clinics throughout Wisconsin. 


About Ascension Wisconsin

Ascension Wisconsin ( serves millions of people across the state with 24 hospitals and hundreds of sites of care. Approximately 23,500 associates, including nearly 1,000 medical group clinicians, work collaboratively to deliver compassionate, personalized care every day. As part of Ascension, the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, in fiscal year 2015, Ascension Wisconsin provided $300 million in community benefit including care of persons living in poverty. 


About Ascension

Ascension ( is a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care. As the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, Ascension is committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. In FY2016, Ascension provided more than $1.8 billion in care of persons living in poverty and other community benefit programs. Ascension includes approximately 150,000 associates and 36,000 aligned providers. Ascension’s Healthcare Division operates 2,500 sites of care – including 141 hospitals and more than 30 senior living facilities – in 24 states and the District of Columbia, while its Solutions Division provides a variety of services and solutions including physician practice management, venture capital investing, investment management, biomedical engineering, facilities management, clinical care management, information services, risk management, and contracting through Ascension’s own group purchasing organization.

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