3 healthcare organizations expanding access amid HSHS closures

Three additional healthcare organizations are stepping up to the plate to ensure patient care access for those affected by Springfield, Ill.-based Hospital Sisters Health System's closure of two hospitals and clinics it operates with Green Bay, Wis.-based Prevea Health. 

Select services from Iron River, Wis.-based NorthLakes Community Clinic; Vadnais Heights, Minn.-based the Remedy; and Middleton, Wis.-based Pivotal Health will be available in the closure areas as early as this spring, according to a Feb. 13 news release from the HSHS/Prevea Task Force, which was created by the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce.

As part of the HSHS/Prevea closures, Chippewa Falls, Wis.-based St. Joseph's Hospital is expected to close on or before March 22; Eau Claire, Wis.-based Sacred Heart Hospital is expected to close on or before April 21; and the health centers are expected to shut down on or before June 30. 

NorthLakes Community Clinic, a federally qualified health center, plans to have services including primary medical, general dentistry, pediatrics, mental health counseling and additional outpatient recovery up and running in Chippewa Valley. Wis., by May. The clinic is actively recruiting staff and providers.

The Remedy, a mental health clinic, has pledged to maintain and enhance its outpatient mental health and substance use disorder services in the areas affected by the closures. 

"We are pleased to announce that we have successfully hired 95% of the employees of Prevea Behavioral Health outpatient clinics," a spokesperson for the Remedy said in the news release. "This will provide for a seamless transition of care without any disruption to patients." 

An urgent care delivery provider, Pivotal Health pledged an expansion of its platform for urgent care and primary care across the Chippewa Valley region. 

"They have providers in the area ready to start seeing patients in March," the release said regarding Pivotal Health. "They're in talks with stakeholders about financing growth, and meeting with employers about a direct-to-business offering that radically lowers company healthcare costs."

Along with the three organizations, Mayo Clinic has also shared plans to double its labor and delivery beds at Marshfield Medical Center-Eau Claire (Wis.) from eight beds to 20 beds in its obstetrics unit.

"The hospital is actively identifying the level of additional staffing, technology needs, and timeline to begin operating the expanded unit," the release said.

Wausau, Wis.-based Aspirus Health is also increasing care access by adding six inpatient beds and increasing surgical capacity at its Aspirus Stanley (Wis.) Hospital; adding eight inpatient beds at its Aspirus Medford (Wis.) Hospital; increasing recruitment efforts; enhancing resources at its Wausau-based tertiary care center, along with other regional hospitals; and building added ancillary service capacity in its hospitals and clinics, like lab, imaging and wound care, according to a news release shared with Becker's

News of the organizations coming forward to help out comes as Eau Claire-based OakLeaf Medical Network, the largest independent physician network in the state, has shared plans to purchase some of HSHS' hospital properties in Wisconsin. 

"We have also had conversations with the OakLeaf Medical Network leadership about their outreach to HSHS and Prevea," the release said. "We understand those discussions are occurring between legal counsels for the parties, and therefore, it is not appropriate for the Task Force to participate in those conversations." 

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