Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) and Prevea Health, a physician network, have confirmed plans to withdraw from the Western Wisconsin market in the US.
This move includes the closure of HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls.
Prevea Health, which offers primary and speciality care, will shut down all its Western Wisconsin locations in the Chippewa Valley.
The decision was made after ‘thoughtful consideration and thorough discernment’, according to HSHS, a multi-institutional health system with operations in Illinois and Wisconsin.
Both organisations have begun a detailed process to ensure a safe wind-down of services and the transition of patient care to other providers.
The majority of the healthcare facilities will completely close on or before 21 April 2024, while Prevea residency clinics in the region will close on or before 30 June 2024.
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HSHS and Prevea facilities operating outside Western Wisconsin’s Chippewa Valley will continue to operate normally.
The decision to exit the Western Wisconsin market comes in response to “prolonged operational and financial stress” stemming from the pandemic’s lasting effects, such as labour constraints, inflation, local market impediments, and broader industry trends.
HSHS president and CEO Damond Boatwright said: “While HSHS and Prevea intended to create an integrated health delivery model in Western Wisconsin in 2015, our operations in the region have struggled for the past several years due to a mismatch in supply of and demand for local health care services.
“We closely considered all other options and sought strategic alternatives. After an agreement with a suitable partner did not work out, it was determined that exiting the market is the only feasible path forward.”
The impending closures will affect approximately 1,082 HSHS and 325 Prevea employees and physicians.
However, HSHS said that all the affected employees will be offered support services and career transition assistance, including opportunities to apply for positions within the organisations where available.
Prevea president and CEO Dr Ashok Rai stated: “We are saddened by this outcome and recognise it will have an impact for our patients in these communities in Chippewa Valley.”