RWHC Overview

RWHC is owned and operated by forty-four, rural acute, general medical-surgical hospitals. The Cooperative's emphasis on developing a collaborative network among both freestanding and system affiliated rural hospitals distinguishes it from alternative approaches. In 1996, RWHC created a non-voting Affiliate Membership for specialty provider based systems.

Click on links for more information:

Local Map of RWHC Office & Training Center at 880 Independence Lane, Sauk City, WI 53583 (Please note that Independence Lane is only accessible via Sycamore Street)

RWHC Overview

Incorporated in 1979 as the Rural Wisconsin Hospital Cooperative, RWHC has received national recognition as one of the country's earliest and most successful models for networking among rural hospitals. Today, the work continues as the renamed Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative responds to the needs of its diverse members and their communities.

Our Vision is that Wisconsin communities will be the healthiest in America. Our Mission is to be a strong and innovative cooperative of diversified rural hospitals and to be the “rural advocate of choice” for our Members.

RWHC serves as a catalyst for statewide collaboration and a progressive, creative force on behalf of all rural health constituencies. Owned by forty-three non-profit, rural acute, general medical-surgical hospitals, RWHC’s charge is twofold: advocacy for rural health at the State and Federal levels and shared service development for member hospitals as well as external customers. The Core Values of trust, collaboration, creativity, excellence, pride, openness, individual development, productivity, and responsibility continue to define the work of RWHC and its members.

RWHC’s advocacy agenda is as follows:

1. Equitable Medicare/Medicaid Funding
2. Health Plan Network Adequacy
3. Rural Relevant “Volume to Value” Incentives
4. Avoiding Rural Collateral Damage as Giants Battle
5. The Needed Statewide Workforce 
6. Physician/Staff Engagement/Retention
7. The Effective Use of All Caregivers
8. Rural Economic & Community Growth

The tenants of advocacy and shared services have benefited one another over the years. Since its inception, RWHC has maintained a philosophy of “Bigger Isn’t Better, Better is Better”, working collaboratively to represent the smaller rural hospital arena as an important stakeholder at the policymaker’s table. Initiatives from Federal Critical Access Hospital Designation through Rural Health Information Technology have benefited from RWHC’s expertise in crafting rural health policy. Today, that expertise continues to shape the landscape of rural health services in America.

Shared services have grown through collaborative efforts and continue to provide sustainable alternatives to our rural partners both in Wisconsin and around the country. At the heart of RWHC services is the commitment to be an affordable and effective option for rural health organizations in the areas of quality improvement, health plan contracting, credentialing, health information technology, professional and workforce development and regulatory compliance. RWHC’s business model gives us the opportunity to deliver services that are innovative and reliable, yet affordable for the smaller hospital. With almost 40 years of experience, RWHC continues to be recognized as a leader providing shared services to smaller hospitals. 

Papers about RWHC

Provider collaboratives: Working together to navigate the changing health care delivery system  "Are provider collaboratives here to stay—or are they just a temporary fad? And what makes them successful? We talked to nine collaboratives to learn more."  Deloitte February, 2017

“Advocating for Collaborative Work: One Perspective, 30 Years in the Making”–a PPT by Tim Size for the Healthy Wisconsin Partnership Program conference, “Collaboration to Improve Rural Health" on June 7th, 2012.

"Leadership Development for Rural Health" PDF by Tim Size, NC Med J 2006;67(1):71-

RWHC Receives International Recognition Click here for an article from the November, 2003PDF Newsletter of the The International Health Co-operative Organization (IHCO) a specialized organization of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA).

Non-agricultural Cooperatives in Rural Areas: Fourteen Case Studies by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, 2003 (RWHC is Case Study #10 on pages 28-32); Click here for article.PDF

"The Art & Science of Rural Network Development" by Tim Size for the Office of Rural Health Policy All Programs Meeting Seession for Rural Health Network Development Grantees, August 9th, 2006.  Available online as a PDF PDF

Suggested Ground Rules for Collaborative Meetings PDF (9/97)

Guidelines To Enhance Cooperation: Among Rural Providers, Systems & Insurers PDF  (8/97)

Business Advisory Letter from Department of Justice to RWHC PDF

"Seeing Green" PDF (10/95)

"Cooperative provides link between rural hospitals" PDF (10/95)

"Strategic Alliances, Some Lessons from Experience" PDF (3/95)

"Managing Partnerships: The Perspective of a Rural Hospital Cooperative" PDF (1/94)

"Rural Wisconsin hospitals work cooperatively to maximize community-controlled services"PDF  (12/81)

For More Information

Tim Size
Executive Director
Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
880 Independence Ln
Sauk City, WI 53583
(608) 643-2343 or
FAX (608) 643-4936


Strategic Partners





Healthiest Wisconsin 2020 

WI Academy for Rural Medicine  

Wisconsin Physician Careers


Wisconsin Rural Leadership Program

Wisconsin Health Reports



© 2000-2020 Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, 880 Independence Lane, Sauk City, WI 53583