Aspirus to replace 52-year-old Michigan hospital, close skilled nursing facility

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Wausau, Wis.-based Aspirus Health plans to replace the 52-year-old Aspirus Ontonagon (Mich.) Hospital and close its skilled nursing facility.

Construction on the new hospital is expected to cost $15.8 million and begin in spring 2022. It will house inpatient and observation beds, an emergency department, primary and specialty care and imaging services.

"Our current hospital opened in 1969 and is in need of several upgrades and modernization," Dylan Taylor, chief administrative officer of Aspirus Ontonagon Hospital, said in a Sept. 22 news release. "By building a new hospital, we can further demonstrate our commitment to the Ontonagon community and provide area residents with a modern facility to meet the primary and emergent care needs of those we serve into the future."

Aspirus also said Sept. 22 it will close its Aspirus Ontonagon Skilled Nursing Facility, pending state and regulatory approval. The decision was attributed to a decline in patient volume and staffing challenges.

"This is not a decision we wanted to make, but it just isn’t sustainable to continue offering skilled nursing care in Ontonagon given the current challenges," Mr. Taylor said.

The closure will affect 29 employees. Aspirus said it is offering affected employees financial assistance and is working to find them jobs within the health system.

Aspirus said it expects the skilled nursing facility to remain open for at least two months as it relocates residents. 

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