Marshfield Clinic accelerates hospital plans, says it cannot wait on Ministry
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield Clinic is accelerating its plans to open a new hospital on its Marshfield campus “to address expected reduced services at Ascension-owned Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital,” according to a press release sent out by Marshfield Clinic today. The release also said that Marshfield Clinic Health System (MCHS) leadership is looking to open phase one of a new hospital in 2016.
Major changes to the East Wing
Dan Ramsey, chief operating officer of MCHS, said that phase one would be focused on remodeling of the current East Wing of the Marshfield Clinic to accommodate space for “an initial number of hospital inpatient beds that will be located in this wing.”
Phase one also includes the previously announced plans to develop post-surgery comfort and recovery suites for patients, which are licensed as a skilled nursing facility and not a hospital. That means that in the East Wing, Marshfield Clinic will have — in addition to its ambulatory surgery center — hospital beds and a skilled nursing facility.
Also in the East Wing, MCHS is planning to add space for radiation/oncology treatment, which will require some remodeling and expansion.
“There is work underway to add a linear accelerator, which is a radiation oncology treatment,” Ramsey said. When the accelerator will be fully operational is not yet known, Ramsey said.
The Boldt Company is the contractor for the work being done on the East Wing.
Hospital of the future
Ramsey did confirm that the new hospital of the future was likely to be built on the northeast side of the current East Wing. He added that the new hospital would be attached in some manner to the East Wing.
“We’re running numbers on what that capacity needs to be, but another variable in that is what Ministry’s future plans are,” Ramsey said. “There’s a whole range there from (Ministry Saint Joseph’s) stays intact as it is today versus being downsized to some community hospital to potentially exiting the community altogether. Each of those scenarios has a different impact on what we will need to be able to accommodate for that future hospital here in Marshfield.”
Ramsey confirmed that MCHS would build a power plant to accommodate the heating and cooling needs of the new hospital and may consider building a parking garage as well because the new facility would likely occupy much of the parking currently available in the East Wing lot.
“We think we could do it without a parking structure, but a parking structure adds some convenience for patients,” Ramsey said.
According to the release, the new hospital is “tentatively scheduled to open in 2018.” Ramsey did not have a cost estimate for all of the work MCHS is undertaking, including current remodeling and the building of a new hospital.
“This building (the new hospital) will be slightly smaller than Ministry Saint Joseph’s and will be a more efficient, high-tech building,” the release said. The services at this new hospital will include “adult, neonatal, and pediatric intensive care units, a birthing center, and pediatric specialty care” as well as private rooms.
“This new hospital facility will allow MCHS to retain key specialty services in Marshfield as Ministry Health Care focuses its expansion efforts along the I-39 corridor. It’s expected Ministry Saint Joseph’s will transition some services now available in Marshfield to other cities leaving patients in central Wisconsin without certain services available close to home,” the release said.
Ministry Health Care announced a plan to build a major medical clinic in Wausau earlier this year.
MCHS’ relationship with Ministry Saint Joseph’s
MCHS CEO Dr. Susan Turney is quoted in the release saying, “We’ve been talking with Ministry leadership about the need for a new hospital in Marshfield since 2008, and we simply couldn’t wait any longer.”
In the release MCHS said it had recently proposed several arrangements to Ministry Saint Joseph’s in order to “maintain continuity of services and protect local jobs.” According to the release, those offers included sharing employees between the two organizations, MCHS buying or leasing beds inside of Saint Joseph’s, and leasing or buying Saint Joseph’s outright. None of those offers have been accepted, the release said.
As of now Ramsey said in terms of physicians, “Our plan is to continue providing patient care in Ministry.” Ramsey added that it would be likely that if staff leaves Ministry Saint Joseph’s, MCHS would look to acquire some of those people to help operate and staff Marshfield Clinic’s new facilities. He added that he did not see MCHS building a new hospital as having a net negative effect on jobs in the community.
“We don’t see it as a negative impact on jobs at all. They may change in terms of where people work and exactly what they do, but overall our intent is to preserve and grow the volume of health care services that are provided in Marshfield today,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey estimated that MCHS has had more than 25 meetings with Ministry leadership both locally and regionally and that, “The door’s open. We continue to have discussions.” He added, “Those discussions (with Ministry) are fine. We welcome that opportunity, but we can’t wait.”
Hub City Times has reached out to Ministry Saint Joseph’s for comment and will provide details from that organization when we receive them.
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