UW Health in Northern Illinois: Expert health care, expanded

In 2015, Rockford-based SwedishAmerican — a community-based health system with a treasured legacy of serving patients and the community for more than 100 years — formally became part of UW Health, a renowned academic health system based in Madison, Wis.


Top-ranked health care in northern Illinois

Wisconsin residents know and trust the UW Health name, but northern Illinois residents are just getting to learn the ways in which they will benefit from this exciting partnership. Above all, it brings the best of both worlds to the region by combining SwedishAmerican’s focus on the community offered through their convenient network of primary and specialty care locations with easy access to UW Health experts for highly complex situations, especially for patients with cancer or heart disease.

Mothers and babies most of whom are cared for at the new Women and Children’s Hospital in Rockford also benefit because they have easy access to UW Health Kids Neonatology experts at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison if a higher level of care is needed.

Northern Illinois patients began to see UW Health red-and-blue themed branding in 2021 and rebranding will continue through 2024 when UW Health signage will be completed at all northern Illinois hospitals and clinics.


It started with a dollar

SwedishAmerican traces its history to 1911, when O.F. Nilson of Rockford urged construction of a Swedish hospital. Half joking, Nilson sent $1 to the editor of Rockford’s Swedish newspaper, challenging every Swedish resident to match his gift. In time, enough money had been raised to start building, leading to the opening of the first SwedishAmerican Hospital in 1918.

SwedishAmerican prides itself not only on its evolution into a leading local health system but as a deeply invested member of the community. UW Health is committed to ensuring that this investment not only continues but grows, ensuring northern Illinois patients with access to the best possible health care.


Recognized for quality care

SwedishAmerican has been consistently recognized for its commitment to quality and excellence, which has garnered numerous national awards.

These include:

  • Clinical Quality and Workplace Excellence

  • Magnet recognition

  • Top 100 Hospital Quality Award (Total Benchmark Solutions)

  • 150 Great Places to Work in Healthcare (Becker's Healthcare): 2015, 2016

  • 150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare (Becker's Healthcare): 2017, 2018, 2019

  • 100 Top Hospital Designation (Solucient)

  • Distinguished Hospital Award (J.D. Power and Associates)

  • National Quality Cup (Rochester Institute of Technology)

  • Cardiac Surgery Excellence Award (HealthGrades)

  • Outstanding Achievement Award (American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer)

  • "Best in Hearts" Designation (HealthGrades)

  • Consumer Preference/Patient Satisfaction

  • Consumer Choice Award (National Research Corporation)

  • Patient Satisfaction Award (Arbor and Associates)

  • Top 100 Integrated Healthcare Network (Verispan)

  • Lincoln Award for Excellence (Lincoln Award for Performance Excellence)

  • Governor's Family Investment Award (State of Illinois)

  • Gold Award of Well Workplace USA (Wellness Councils of America)

  • Illinois Healthy Worksite Gold Level (Illinois Department of Public Health)

  • Platinum Level Fit-Friendly Worksite (American Heart Association)

Giving back to northern Illinois

The SwedishAmerican Foundation

O.F. Nilson’s original $1 gift eventually resulted in the establishment of the SwedishAmerican Foundation — a philanthropic arm that promotes excellence in health care and compassionate service throughout northern Illinois. Gifts to the Foundation can be unrestricted, benefiting SwedishAmerican’s areas of greatest need or chosen by the donor to support a specific area.