Ascension postpones some elective surgeries at Milwaukee hospital

Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Hospital in Milwaukee is postponing some nonurgent surgeries for 30 days, according to a staff memo obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The Jan. 9 memo asked physicians and their teams to review all surgeries scheduled through Feb. 10 and delay any deemed nonurgent. 

"Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Milwaukee has been prioritizing urgent and emergent surgical procedures and will continue to do so as needed," an Ascension spokesperson told Becker's. "Elective surgeries are continuing based on clinical urgency."

The elective surgery pause comes as the hospital faces significant staffing challenges. In December, Milwaukee Magazine published an investigative report claiming that staffing issues have significantly disrupted care at the hospital, leading to delayed surgeries, long wait times and unattended patients. 

State health officials investigated Columbia St. Mary's in October and cited the hospital for not having enough staff members to properly care for four patients whose cases were reviewed. In August, the hospital was also at risk of losing its accreditation through The Joint Commission, though it has since been reaccredited. 

Editor's note: This article was updated Jan. 13 at 11:54 a.m. CT to clarify that Columbia St. Mary's Hospital is postponing some nonurgent surgeries, not suspending all elective procedures.

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