Plans advance for Marshfield Clinic cancer center
For Hub City Times
The Eau Claire Plan Commission on Monday approved the site plan for a new Marshfield Clinic Health System cancer center, which the Clinic said it was moving ahead with back in June.
Last night’s approval came after nearly an hour’s worth of debate, centered mainly around concerns raised by Sacred Heart Hospital that the new center will fail to address the region’s significant treatment needs for mental health and alcohol and drug abuse.
The debate attracted an overflow crowd that spilled into the hallways of the Eau Claire Council chambers.
Despite the concerns over the new facility, Plan Commissioners said the Clinic’s new center meets site plan regulations, and fits in with Eau Claire’s comprehensive plan, so they had no grounds to reject it.
One Commissioner, Council member Kathy Mitchell, did criticize Marshfield Clinic and Sacred Heart officials for their division regarding the cancer center and hospital, saying she was “disappointed the two organizations couldn’t work better together”.
The new facility is slated to open next year at the site of The Plaza Hotel & Suites along West Clairemont Avenue.
The Clinic’s Eau Claire plans were announced in June, about the same time the Clinic was also scrapping plans to build a new hospital in Marshfield.
Marshfield Clinic Health System is calling this its new “Caring for the Chippewa Valley” plan to build a hospital with attached cancer care on land the clinic has purchased near its Eau Claire campus. Chief Strategy Officer Dr. Narayana Murali says owning and operating a state-of-the-art hospital in Eau Claire is an important move that allows the organization to offer the highest level of care locally while gaining more control over the cost and quality of care it has provided in the community for more than two decades.
Murali says residents in Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley face some of the highest health care costs in the state, and building a new hospital puts Marshfield Clinic in a strong position to start to change that.
The facility is expected to offer a wide range of specialty services in the Chippewa Valley, including heart care, orthopedics and sports medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and also gynecology and general surgery.
The new Chippewa Valley cancer care location is expected to be staffed by the same doctors, nurses, and other employees currently working at the Marshfield Clinic Cancer Center at Sacred Heart Hospital. The new facility will feature more patient privacy, expanded clinical services, and all the programs now offered at the existing center.
The hospital will be built at 1202 W. Clairemont Ave., the current site of the Plaza Hotel & Suites—which will get torn down over the winter. The Clinic has purchased the real estate, and the hotel business will continue to operate through December. Dr. Murali says the cancer center planning is in the final stages, with completion scheduled for the fall of 2017. The hospital will be completed the following year. Ground-breaking for both will be next spring.
Marshfield Clinic has had a presence in Eau Claire since 1992.
(Courtesy of WDLB/WOSQ)