Through our exceptional health
care services, we reveal
the healing presence of God.



1912- St. Mary’s historic partnership with Dean Clinic began, when Dr. Joseph Dean admitted the first patient and performed the first surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Additional Timelines

1926- With expanded facilities, a maternity ward opened and St. Mary’s soon became known as “the Mother and Baby Hospital,” regularly delivering more babies than any other Madison hospital.

1958- St. Mary’s Hospital unveiled its plan for a comprehensive service line dedicated to heart and vascular care. A decade later, it became a full-fledged department, working in tandem with Dean Clinic to become regional experts in life-saving and life-enhancing heart care. For example, St. Mary’s was among the first hospitals in Wisconsin to perform angioplasty (1980) and was a leader in a minimally invasive cure for atrial fibrillation (2005).

1968- A 13-bed Infant Intensive Care Unit (IICU)—only one of two in the state—opened at St. Mary’s in cooperation with the University of Wisconsin, building a strong reputation as a regional medical resource. Two years prior, the John A. Hartford Neonatal Research Lab opened at St. Mary’s to study infectious diseases in children and train medical personnel involved in perinatal care. The lab provided solid footing for establishment of the IICU, which, today, is called the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

1970- The fledgling University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine and its residency program were welcomed by St. Mary’s during a search for a physical location providing offices and teaching resources. In addition to the first clinic that was opened in 1971, medical residents gain instruction and mentorship from hospital staff and many serve clinical rotations on St. Mary’s units.

1970- St. Mary’s Hospital changed its name to St. Marys Hospital Medical Center to emphasize its greater range of services. In addition, the apostrophe was eliminated so as to honor all saints named Mary. This was in effect for 36 years, until 2006.

1972- St. Mary’s laboratory, which had been in operation since 1912, began to serve the analysis needs of a wide array of local and regional clients. Today, St. Mary’s Laboratory Services supports nearly 100 different hospitals, doctors’ offices and other clients.

1983- Dean Health Plan Inc., an HMO insurance company, was founded as a subsidiary of Dean Health Insurance Inc. In 1995, St. Mary’s parent organization purchased a 47% share of the plan and 5% of Dean Health System, marking the start of Dean’s and St. Mary’s integrated health system that encompasses clinic, hospital and health insurance. Together, they manage risks, costs and successes. In addition, Dean Health Plan owns Navitus, a pharmacy benefit manager.

1986- SSM Health Care System was established based on Vatican II principles, and St. Mary’s aligned more closely with its sister hospitals in four states. Sister Mary Jean Ryan was appointed president of the organization, overseeing all of the hospitals and nursing homes that the religious congregation had built since the late 1800s.

1987- The congregational sponsor of SSM Health Care became known as the Franciscan Sisters of Mary. The name change resulted when the original Sisters of St. Mary (SSM) reunited with the Sisters of St. Francis of Maryville, Missouri (OSF). The two communities began as the Sisters of St. Mary, and then operated separately but along parallel lines for 93 years before reuniting as the new Franciscan Sisters of Mary (FSM).

1988- St. Mary’s Hospital joined the alliance of sponsors for Home Health United, an agency established in 1986 to provide quality nursing care to people in their homes. The partnership also includes St. Clare Hospital in Baraboo and two other hospitals in Sauk County.

1989- St. Mary’s Dean Ventures (SMDV) was formed, creating a regional network of community clinics and surgery centers linked to hospital care in Madison, Baraboo and now Janesville.

1990- A comprehensive program of continuous quality improvement (CQI) was implemented.

1991- Shared governance was introduced at St. Mary’s, ensuring that nurses and clinicians have a meaningful voice in clinical decision-making as well as in shaping an environment that supports excellence. St. Mary’s continues to serve as a model for clinical visitors and consultants nationally and internationally.

1998- A regional approach was adopted among SSM Health Care entities, and SSM Health Care of Wisconsin was created to oversee its holdings of two hospitals and two nursing homes as well as ownership interests in regional health care organizations, and participation in other alliances and strategies for growth.

1999- SSM Health Care adopted a new system-wide mission statement: “Through our exceptional health care services, we reveal the healing presence of God.”

2001- Though fund-raising had been around from the start, and included work performed under St. Mary’s Development Council, today’s St. Mary’s Foundation was established under the name of St. Mary’s Hospital and Care Center Foundation, Inc. Its first capital campaign raised $2 million toward building a new facility for St. Mary’s Care Center.

2003 – Building on a number of informal relationships with rural hospitals, St. Mary’s and its parent organization, SSM Health Care of Wisconsin, embarked on a path of formal affiliations starting with Stoughton Hospital. St. Mary’s affiliated hospitals today are located in Boscobel, Columbus, Dodgeville, Edgerton and Stoughton.

2004- St. Mary’s declared its campus tobacco-free, joining the entire SSM Health Care system, which became the largest health care organization to ban the use of tobacco on its premises.

2006- The hospital reverted to its original name, St. Mary’s Hospital, and reclaimed the apostrophe.

2008- St. Mary’s Hospital went live with the Electronic Health Record (EHR) by Epic Systems. The computerized medical record improved care through greater levels of safety, consistency and cross-checking while eliminating unnecessary duplication. For the first time, medical records at participating clinics, hospitals and emergency rooms acted as one singular medical file.

2010- The last two Franciscan Sisters of Mary to serve St. Mary’s retired, leaving the hospital’s mission largely in the hands of lay people. Their departure marked 100 years of the congregation’s service to St. Mary’s Hospital, starting with the initial planning in 1910.

2012- In response to health care’s changing landscape, SSM Health Care of Wisconsin and Dean Health System launched negotiations on an expanded partnership to serve patients even better and more cost-effectively.


St. Mary's Hospital     700 South Park Street     Madison, WI 53715-0450     (608) 251-6100
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