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Healthcare Closures Prompt Resolutions from Local Governments

Healthcare Closures Prompt Resolutions from Local Governments

February 9, 2024 11:51 AM CDT

By: James Kelly

Following the announcement of healthcare closures in the Chippewa Valley, local government bodies have passed related resolutions.

In the span of one week, a resolution calling on HSHS and Prevea to work with local partners on the continuation of care was passed by the Eau Claire County Board and City Council, the Chippewa Falls County Board and City Council, and the Altoona City Council.

The healthcare organizations are currently planning to close all of their facilities in the Chippewa Valley, including HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, by June 30th. The healthcare closures will result in many residents losing their providers, critical shortages in a number of fields, and about 1,400 employees losing their jobs.

While some councilors and board members have referred to the resolutions as a feel-good move that doesn’t truly accomplish anything, others see them as a way to put pressure on HSHS and Prevea to slow down the healthcare closures to minimize the impact on residents.

The organizations maintain that their announcement of the closures was done in a legally proper way, but government officials including Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers have criticized them for not giving more notice. State legislators have also introduced legislation to re-allocate $15 million in unused funds to support emergency departments in Chippewa and Eau Claire Counties. The hope is to address the short term needs of the community while officials work towards a long-term goal.

While the future of the facilities remains uncertain, OakLeaf Medical Network also reached out to the organizations hoping to purchase the properties. According to a WQOW report however, HSHS reportedly told the organization it would not negotiate selling the properties to them at this time.

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