Wisconsin Orthopedic Practice Sues to Prolong Hospital Closures: A Look at the Implications for Patient Care and Physician Services
In a recent turn of events, Chippewa Valley Orthopedics and Sports Medicine (CVOSM), a Wisconsin-based orthopedic practice, has filed a lawsuit against Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) in a bid to extend the closure date of two HSHS-owned hospitals. The practice alleges that the premature closure of these hospitals interferes with patient care and physician services. They are seeking an injunction to keep the hospitals open until at least July 21, instead of the planned closure date of April 21.
Allegations Against HSHS
CVOSM claims that HSHS did not provide the required 180-day notice to terminate their contract. As per their contract agreement, HSHS was supposed to provide this notice before ending operations. CVOSM alleges that this breach of contract has caused harm to both patients and physicians. The Eau Claire County Court has given HSHS 20 days to respond to the complaint.
Impact of Hospital Closures
The closure of Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s, both HSHS hospitals, has sparked controversy and concern within the community. CVOSM, a crucial coverage partner of HSHS, has been left in a challenging position due to these abrupt closures, prompting them to file for an injunction. Moreover, HSHS and Prevea’s decision to end operations in western Wisconsin has also stirred anxiety among city leaders in Altoona, leading to calls for a collaborative solution to continue quality medical care in the region.
Community Response to Hospital Closures
In response to these impending closures, other healthcare organizations in the region are stepping up. OakLeaf Medical Network, of which CVOSM is a member, is planning to establish a new community hospital in the Chippewa Valley. They have hired a healthcare executive to spearhead this initiative, with detailed project plans expected in the coming weeks. OakLeaf has also reached out to HSHS with a proposal to purchase the hospital properties.
Simultaneously, Marshfield Clinic Health System is expanding its services to accommodate community needs. The organization is doubling the labor and delivery beds at its Marshfield Medical Center-Eau Claire, expanding from eight beds to 20. This expansion will allow for an additional 550 yearly births if necessary. Recruitment drives for open hospital positions have begun, and more job fairs are in the pipeline. The midwifery team at Marshfield Clinic Chippewa Falls Center has also resumed its services.
While the legal proceedings between CVOSM and HSHS continue, community healthcare organizations are making moves to ensure the continuity of quality medical care. The situation highlights the importance of robust communication and contract adherence between healthcare providers, particularly in terms of terminations or modifications. The community’s response underlines the resilience of healthcare networks and their dedication to providing quality care, even in the face of adversity.