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HSHS, Prevea Health to exit Western Wisconsin market

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February 5, 2024

NORTH CENTRAL WISCONSIN –Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS), a faith-based health system with operations in Illinois and Wisconsin, recently announced the system will close HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls as part of a complete exit from the Western Wisconsin region. 

Prevea Health, a physician network offering primary and specialty care, will also close all its locations across Western Wisconsin’s Chippewa Valley.

Damond Boatwright, president/CEO of HSHS, said HSHS and Prevea have initiated an organized process to wind down services safely and to transition patient care to other providers. 

Most of the closures are expected to be completed on or before April 21, with the exception of the Prevea residency clinics that will close on or before June 30. 

HSHS and Prevea locations outside of Western Wisconsin’s Chippewa Valley region are unaffected and operating as usual.

Boatwright said this decision comes after prolonged operational and financial stress related to the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, workforce constraints, local market challenges and other industry-wide trends. 

“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 the supply of and demand for local healthcare services,” he said. “We closely considered all other options and sought strategic alternatives. After an agreement with a suitable partner did not work out, it was determined exiting the market is the only feasible path forward.” 

According to the American Hospital Association, there were 136 rural hospital closures from 2010-21, as well as a record 19 closures in 2020 alone. 

Dr. Ashok Rai, president/CEO of Prevea, said the healthcare system is saddened by this outcome and “recognize it will have an impact on our patients in these communities in the Chippewa Valley.”

“Together with HSHS, we are focused on ensuring continuity of care for patients and helping them transition their care to other area hospitals and providers,” he said.

The closures impact approximately 1,082 HSHS and 325 Prevea colleagues and physicians, all of whom will receive support services and career transition assistance, including the potential to seek positions elsewhere in the organizations, if available.

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