SSM Health Care, one of the largest Catholic health systems in the country, and Dean Health Systems, a large multi-specialty physician group, have signed an agreement under which the physician-owned Dean and its subsidiaries would become part of SSM Health Care.

The transaction, which needs approval of Dean physician shareholders, the Wisconsin Insurance Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and other regulatory agencies, could close as early as this summer.

The two companies already have an established integrated delivery network that manages the health of populations in south central Wisconsin. Dean has expertise in managing physician practices, while SSM has geographic breadth and expertise in acute care. In addition, SSM and Dean jointly own an insurance company, Dean Health Plan.

In Janesville, SSM operates St. Mary’s Janesville Hospital and Dean operates Dean Clinic-Janesville East. The two opened in a new facility in early 2012.

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