Welcome to the HSHS/Prevea Recovery Task Force page! Here, you can stay informed about the present and future challenges our community is addressing following the decision to close HSHS/Prevea facilities in our area.
Our dedicated team is diligently working to provide you with the latest updates. With over 125 volunteers actively involved in various committees, the overwhelming support from our community reinforces our collective commitment to overcoming these challenges together. If you're interested in contributing or have suggestions, feel free to let us know how you can be a part of this effort.
As the HSHS/Prevea Recovery Task Force receives ongoing updates and addresses your queries, our commitment is to keep you well-informed. To stay up-to-date on the latest developments, consider subscribing to Task Force Communications below.
Currently, we have closed the submissions for our task force committees as we are in the process of organizing the existing applicants into suitable committees. Should additional committee members be required, we will reopen the submission process.
Be sure to check our FAQ page regularly, as it will be consistently updated with new information.
Gov. Evers Approves Bill Securing $15 Million in Crisis Response Resources to Support Healthcare Access in Western Wisconsin After Recent Hospital Closure Announcements
Governor’s improvements to bill ensure flexibility for crisis response funding to be used for any hospital services, including urgent care, OB-GYN, and mental health services, among others
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today approved Senate Bill (SB) 1015, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 97, securing $15 million in crisis response resources to support healthcare access in Western Wisconsin in the wake of the recent announcement of HSHS and Prevea Health’s decision to close several locations. In addition to severely impacting healthcare access in the area, according to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD), the closures have been estimated to impact approximately 1,400 workers, among others, in the surrounding region.
Gov. Evers today approved Act 97 with improvements through line-item vetoes that will provide additional flexibility for the $15 million crisis response investment, enabling the resources to be used to fund any hospital services meeting the area’s pressing healthcare needs, including urgent care services, OB-GYN services, inpatient psychiatry services, and mental health substance use services, among others. Without the governor’s vetoes, these services would not have been eligible under SB 1015. Gov. Evers first made the announcement today in Madison while speaking with community leaders from the Chippewa Valley region at the Chippewa Valley Rally, an annual event organized by the Chippewa Valley Chamber Alliance, which represents the Chippewa Falls, Menomonie, and Eau Claire Chambers of Commerce.
“Recent hospital closures in Western Wisconsin have disrupted Wisconsinites’ ability to access basic, everyday healthcare services and uprooted the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of folks and their families,” said Gov. Evers. “My administration and I are working to do everything we can to support those workers and their families, as well as folks across the area who need to be able to access basic and emergency healthcare services alike.
“I’m proud to be securing $15 million in crisis response funding while using my constitutional veto authority to make improvements to ensure more flexibility so these critical resources can be used for any hospital services to meet the healthcare access needs of the Chippewa Valley region, no matter what they may be,” Gov. Evers continued. “It’s been clear in my visits to the Chippewa Valley region and my conversations with community leaders that the impacts of these recent closures do not end at hospital emergency doors—these closures are affecting access to critical healthcare services across the board, and we have to be responsive to these challenges to meet Wisconsinites’ and communities’ needs.”
SB 1015, as passed by the Wisconsin State Legislature, included unnecessary restrictions on the $15 million crisis response funding, limiting the funds to be used only for hospital emergency department services exclusively. The governor’s partial vetoes improve the bill significantly, broadening the scope of the grants that will be available under the bill and allowing the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to make the crisis response funds available for any hospital services that meet the needs of the region.
Concurrent with the governor’s announcement today, Gov. Evers also directed DHS to submit an official request to the Wisconsin State Legislature’s Republican-controlled Joint Committee on Finance to immediately release the $15 million provided for under Act 97. A copy of the request submitted by DHS to the Joint Committee on Finance today is available here. The plan request submitted by DHS reflects the governor’s improvements made to the bill today.
“I’m urging Republicans on the Joint Committee on Finance to approve the department’s request quickly to ensure these resources are immediately available to help stabilize and support healthcare access across the Chippewa Valley region, and to do so without delay,” concluded Gov. Evers. “This investment will go a long way in helping address the very real and pressing healthcare access concerns facing Western Wisconsin, and it is critically important that we get this funding out the door to folks who need it.”
Upon Joint Committee on Finance approval of the DHS’ request, the department will conduct a competitive grant application process for the $15 million in funding for eligible hospitals and hospital services meeting the following criteria:
Eligible hospital services are those provided in the Western Region, with priority for hospitals in Eau Claire and Chippewa Counties.
Grantees must agree to expand capacity (capital and operational) at hospitals (defined as entities with DHS 124 license) that accept all payor types (commercial (consistent with existing networks), Medicaid, Medicare, self-pay, and uninsured) including any of the following services:
Increase Emergency Department capacity/service, including accepting patients in crisis in need of potential evaluation under Chapter 51.
Expand Urgent Care Services.
Expand Inpatient Psychiatric Unit accepting adults and/or adolescents. The unit must accept emergency detentions under s. 51.15 and voluntary admissions.
Expand Inpatient OB/GYN services.
Expand mental health and/or substance use services.
Expand or establish hospital-owned and operated ambulance service to transfer patients to an appropriate patient care setting.
Any expansion of services begun on or after January 22, 2024, is eligible for the grant funds.
The governor’s veto message detailing his partial vetoes of SB 1015, now Wisconsin Act 97, is available here.
EVERS ADMINISTRATION'S RAPID RESPONSE TO HEALTHCARE CLOSURES IN WESTERN WISCONSIN
While not exhaustive, details regarding the Evers Administration’s ongoing rapid response efforts to the HSHS and Prevea health systems closures are available here and detailed below.
DWD Rapid Response Efforts
DWD is coordinating rapid response with the local workforce development board. The rapid response support includes assistance with job search and placement, unemployment insurance application assistance, interview preparation, career counseling, and navigation of childcare and health insurance information, among other resources.
DWD’s rapid response teams are continuing to gather critical information, meet with the affected employees and employers, and identify opportunities to connect affected employees with new opportunities that provide family-supporting wages.
DWD and the local workforce development board hosted community job fairs to assist affected workers and the general public on February 7 and February 20.
DWD worked with the local rapid response team to offer 11 information sessions in affected communities.
DWD continues to coordinate with DHS and other state agencies to support continuity of healthcare services in the region.
Additional services will be made available via DWD’s mobile career labs and job centers for affected employees.
DHS Rapid Response Efforts
DHS has met with both the local leadership and the systemwide leadership of HSHS and Prevea Health, and the department will continue to have regular meetings with these leaders moving forward.
DHS is facilitating conversations between the leadership of HSHS and Prevea Health and the leadership of other regional healthcare systems, including Marshfield Clinic Health System and Mayo Clinic Health System, and is continuing to urge the three systems to increase transparency in their planning and decision-making.
DHS will continue to monitor EMS, trauma, and crisis response going forward, in addition to ongoing transition and continuity of care planning, including:
Coordination of an agreement to transfer certain patients from HSHS to Mayo Clinic; and
Necessary steps to ensure all local OB/GYNs have privileges at all local hospitals so they can continue to provide care locally regardless of the facility at which they are working. This is particularly important given the pre-existing shortages with regard to OB/GYN care in the region.
DHS’s Bureau of Human Resources has notified employees of the department’s Northern Wisconsin Center, who mostly use Prevea Health and HSHS, and the bureau is working with them to help them find care.
DHS is conducting outreach to facilities and organizations to encourage them to have a presence at upcoming job fairs in the region, including long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, DHS-administered facilities, etc.
Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) Rapid Response Efforts
OCI is in communication with Western Wisconsin insurers about their efforts to maintain access and provide timely information for their policyholders.
OCI continues to be in contact with health insurance enrollment assisters in the region to answer questions and support their efforts to provide clarity for insureds impacted by the closures.
OCI has been in contact with the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) on State Employee Health Plan issues to monitor the situation.
OCI has been in contact with the Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration to ensure they are aware of the situation and prepared to support people with employer-based coverage impacted in the area.
ABOUT THE DISLOCATED WORKER PROGRAM
The Dislocated Worker Program provides transition assistance to workers and companies affected by permanent worker layoffs. The rapid response teams help companies and worker representatives develop and implement a practical transition plan based on the size of the layoff event. Types of services include:
Pre-layoff workshops on a variety of topics, such as resume writing and interviewing, job search strategies, and budgeting;
Provision of information about programs and resources through written materials and information sessions; and
Career and resource fairs.
Workers affected by a permanent layoff may also access basic re-employment services at no charge through the state’s Job Centers. Certain services, including training assistance, may be an option for some workers after enrolling in one or more of DWD’s workforce development programs. Additional information on the Rapid Response Team process is available here.
Gov. Evers today also vetoed SB 1014. The governor’s veto message for SB 1014 is available here.
An online version of this release is available here.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - OakLeaf Medical Network has added services, expanded capacity, and increased appointment availability to fill gaps left by the closures of HSHS and Prevea facilities in western Wisconsin.
According to a news release from OakLeaf Medical Network on Feb. 22, each of its 26 clinics has increased its capacity and has additional plans to expand to meet the healthcare needs of the community.
Starting March 4, clinic hours for OakLeaf Clinics - Eau Claire Medical Clinic on West Oakwood Mall Drive and OakLeaf Clinics - Chippewa Falls on Lakeland Drive will be Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Lab services at both locations will be available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Other expanded services include adding primary care capacity, planning for additional hospital coverage for births, increasing outpatient psychiatry and behavioral health services and increasing pelvic health services.
On behalf of the Chamber Task Force for the HSHS/Prevea Closures – We would like to share the following statement on progress made after learning that HSHS and Prevea are leaving the Chippewa Valley. This news was upsetting and has left patients and our community questioning what happens next.
This past week, several communities and counties passed resolutions asking HSHS and Prevea to collaborate with local healthcare providers to ensure safe and adequate care continuity plans for patients impacted by the hospital and clinic closures. I’m pleased to share that the Task Force has received an unwavering commitment from the leaders of HSHS and Prevea that they will continue to work hand-in-hand with local area providers to ensure patient care needs are safely and responsibly transitioned.
We have also had conversations with the OakLeaf Medical Network leadership about their outreach to HSHS and Prevea. We understand those discussions are occurring between legal counsels for the parties, and, therefore, it is not appropriate for the Task Force to participate in those conversations.
The Task Force, along with our local communities and area providers, will continue to work to move forward collectively and to identify solutions that will best serve the Chippewa Valley Region—preparing for a new healthcare landscape in our community and promoting an open dialogue about how best to address future healthcare needs.
Over the past three weeks, the Task Force has been working with all of the medical partners to understand what each entity is able to assist with and areas that there unable to help with. Attached is information on three new companies: NorthLakes Community Clinic - The Remedy - Pivotal Health are investing in the Chippewa Valley area. These companies will directly affect gaps in services from the closure of HSHS/Prevea. Services will be available as early as spring of 2024.
The Task Force is pleased to learn that Marshfield Clinic Health System is doubling its labor and delivery beds at MMC-Eau Claire to meet the community's needs after the recently announced hospital closures.
They will be expanding its obstetrics unit from 8 beds to 20 beds, which could accommodate an additional 550 births a year. The hospital is actively identifying the level of additional staffing, technology needs and timeline to begin operating the expanded unit.
"As other hospitals and health systems are making difficult decisions, we have determined the steps we can take to increase delivery and labor beds for expectant mothers and their families," said MMC-Eau Claire President Brad Groseth. "We know the importance of having a comfortable space with high-quality staff and resources to deliver their child to families in the area."
They also stated that they are finalizing plans for an expected increase in patient volume, especially in emergency and urgent care, and that recruitment is underway for open positions, and additional job fairs will be scheduled.
“The Mayo Clinic Health System team is actively working to identify opportunities to safely increase our ability to care for more patients. Some patients needing cancer treatment, wound care and other services have already been transferred to Mayo Clinic Health System to ensure continuity of care. Other efforts include increasing the total number of patients we can care for in our five hospitals in Northwest Wisconsin, significantly increasing the number of deliveries we can do in our Family Birth Center and investigating ways to care for more patients in Emergency Departments and Urgent Care clinics across all our sites. We are using innovative approaches to serving patients in the comfort of their own homes, including working to expand our Advanced Care at Home program, which allows some patients who would otherwise need to be hospitalized to receive care at home. Our recently introduced virtual care app, Primary Care On Demand, gives patients and community members 24/7/365 access to care, including video visits with a physician, for various urgent medical needs. For those who are looking for a new primary or specialty care provider, we have dedicated teams taking their calls.
In addition to an increase in patients needing care, healthcare workers and students have been impacted by these changes. We are working to match qualified healthcare workers with open positions that are appropriate for their skills. For nursing students and other medical learners who need clinical experience to complete their education, we are adding more than 10,000 clinical hours for training. We will continue to participate in the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce Recovery Task Force, which has brought community leaders together to identify and address the challenges patients and healthcare workers are experiencing”.
Richard Helmers, M.D., regional Vice President, Mayo Clinic Health System in Northwest Wisconsin
The task force also wants to share that the leadership from Marshfield Medical Clinics and Mayo Clinic Health Systems continues to meet with the leadership of the Task Force to discuss the community's future healthcare needs and how these services can be financially sustainable.
As we discuss the community's future health needs, we must remember that any steps taken by our current or new healthcare entities that may come to our community to provide new or expanded services must be done so financially sustainably.
HSHS/Prevea Recovery Task Force:
- Jerry Jacobson (co-chair) President Northwestern Bank
- Bill Rupp (co-chair) Retired Mayo CEO
- Jeff Halloin President Landmark Company
- Karl Hoesly – President Xcel Energy for Wisconsin & Michigan
- Dave Minor, Eau Claire Chamber President & CEO
- Ashley DeMuth, Menomonie Chamber President & CEO
- Allyson Wisniewski, Chippewa Falls Chamber of Commerce President
NORTHLAKES COMMUNITY CLINIC
There is a relative newcomer to our healthcare community, NorthLakes Community Clinic. They are a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), providing a wide range of outpatient primary care services, including medical, dental, and mental health care. They focus on Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured or underinsured folks who often have significant challenges accessing the care they need. NorthLakes has provided pediatric dental services in Eau Claire for the past two years. Last fall, they added mental health counseling.
NorthLakes has existed for 15 years, with 17 clinics in small rural communities across northern Wisconsin. They planned to expand slowly in the Chippewa Valley, working with partners over time to check out the needs to ensure they both duplicate and compete with other providers in the area. FQHCs exist to fill healthcare gaps and improve access for underserved populations. However, those slow-growth plans have changed due to the immediate needs of our communities.
CEO Reba Rice, who lives in Altoona, said, "We're excited to work with the community to do our small part to fill the needs. It's going to take a lot of us doing whatever we can. There is much concern, fear, and anger in the community right now, which makes sense. And, there are also many positive opportunities and resources right here."
The services NorthLakes hopes to have up and running by May of 2024 include primary medical, pediatric, and general dentistry, mental health counseling, and full-spectrum outpatient recovery (including individual and group therapy and medication-assisted treatment). They are actively recruiting providers and staff.
Anyone interested in employment opportunities or wanting to be updated on their plans can visit their website landing page expressly set up for this situation. NorthLakes Responds to HSHS and Prevea Closings in Western Wisconsin – NorthLakes Community Clinic (nlccwi.org)
Chief Executive Officer
NorthLakes Community Clinic
Office: 822 S Hastings Way, Eau Claire
(715) 209-8306 Cell
(715) 372-0323 Office
Dear Community Members,
I hope this memo finds you well during what undoubtedly must be a challenging time for the Chippewa Valley Communities. We are writing to express our deepest condolences regarding the pending closure of HSHS and Prevea Health and the impact it will have on the patients, their families, and the residents of your communities. The closure of such a vital institution brings forth a wave of uncertainties, especially in terms of healthcare access, and we want to assure you that we are committed to providing ongoing support.
Considering this unfortunate situation, we are pleased to introduce The Remedy Mental Health, a Wisconsin and Minnesota based mental health clinic committed to meeting patients where they are with forward-thinking treatments that offer a better quality of life. We understand the importance of mental health services and the impact that disruptions in care can have on individuals and their loved ones. While we are not able to fill the void of all the critical services impacted by the departure of HSHS and Prevea Health, we are uniquely positioned to maintain and enhance outpatient mental health and substance use disorder services. We are pleased to announce that we have successfully hired 95% of the employees of Prevea Behavioral Health outpatient clinics. This will provide for a seamless transition of care without any disruption to patients.
Our team consists of highly skilled and compassionate professionals, including experts in psychiatry with specializations in addiction, interventional, perinatal, hospital-based and outpatient psychiatry. This diverse skill set ensures that we can address a wide range of mental health needs and offer comprehensive care tailored to the unique circumstances of everyone. Specifically, our team has a proven track record in inpatient psychiatry, providing compassionate and effective care to individuals requiring hospitalization. Our consult-liaison psychiatry expertise allows for seamless collaboration with medical, emergency, and surgical specialties, ensuring integrated care for patients with complex medical conditions. Additionally, our passion for addiction psychiatry enables us to address the unique challenges associated with substance use disorders.
The Remedy Mental Health goes above and beyond and sets itself apart as we also can provide cutting-edge interventional psychiatric treatments including transracial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and Ketamine/Spravato services. Additionally, we can provide electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) if needed. At Remedy Mental Health, we believe in providing comprehensive and personalized care to address the unique challenges that individuals may face. Our expansive clinic is equipped to cater to a spectrum of mental health concerns, ensuring that each patient receives the attention and support they require for their well-being.
Moreover, we understand the broader impact of the hospital closure on the community, including potential job losses. The Remedy Mental Health is committed to working collaboratively with the community to alleviate these concerns. We aim to create a supportive environment for both patients and residents, fostering a sense of continuity in care and stability in employment.
We are here to assist and support you during this transition, and we look forward to the opportunity to contribute positively to the mental health and well-being of the Chippewa Valley Communities. Please see the attached guide that provides further information on our clinic and how we can help meet the needs of your communities.
Danielle Golden, CRNA
Urgent healthcare, delivered right to your doorstep. That's the innovative vision behind Pivotal Health, a Wisconsin-based startup that's transforming healthcare access and affordability.
Since launching in 2021, Pivotal Health has provided over 10,000 on-demand home visits across metro Wisconsin, bringing urgent care, primary care and preventative health directly to patients. Their network of providers travel to you, at the time you choose, sparing you those dreaded waits in a crowded clinic or hospital ER.
Through an intuitive tech platform, Pivotal Health makes every part of the healthcare experience remarkably seamless - from insurance coverage verification and transparent pricing, to automated scheduling, payment, clinician charting and follow-up care. Patients benefit from convenience and lower costs, with visits a fraction of the price of an ER trip. Providers benefit from streamlined workflows that enable a new care delivery model.
Now, Pivotal Health is actively looking to expand their innovative model for urgent care and primary care to the Chippewa Valley region. They have providers in the area ready to start seeing patients in March. Pivotal Health is fully in network with all major and regional health insurers including UnitedHealth care, BlueCross BlueShield, Network Health, Medicare, and more.
They're in talks with stakeholders about financing growth, and meeting with employers about a direct-to-business offering that radically lowers company healthcare costs. At its core, Pivotal Health aims to make quality care more accessible and affordable using smart technology. That innovative vision is transforming Wisconsin's healthcare landscape for the better.
- Pivotal Health has an innovative model for clinician house calls for urgent care and primary care for patients of all ages - easier for consumers and for our providers.
- We've done over 10,000 visits across 3 WI metro areas since starting our operations in late 2021.
- We have a team of providers in the Eau Claire area that want to work for us and bring our model to the region. We can start seeing patients in less than a month - March 2024.
- We will serve Eau Claire County, Chippewa County, and Dunn County initially.
- We are looking for $1 million of investment and/or debt for our expansion costs.
- We are also looking for employers that are interested in signing up for our Direct Care model. We already have a few employers with over 300 employees ready to sign up.
Chief Executive Officer
3030 Laura Lane, Suite 130
Middleton, WI 53562
Occupational Chaplains of America provides certified Employee Support Specialists. Learn more about their services here: https://bit.ly/3OObNk8
In the face of recent challenges, The Coven stands in support of those impacted by the recent local layoffs. Recognizing the importance of a dedicated workspace during transitional periods, we are introducing a program tailored to uplift and empower you on your journey to new opportunities.
We understand that the job search process demands focus, professionalism, and a productive environment. That's why we are offering individuals affected by the recent layoffs ONE (1) complimentary Punch Card, entitling you to FIVE (5) days of access to our coworking space in Downtown Eau Claire. Day Passes can be redeemed Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Our flexible office provides the ideal setting for job seekers to browse and apply for positions, engage in virtual interviews, meet with prospective employers, and foster productivity beyond the confines of home. We recognize that during these challenging times, having a dedicated workspace is crucial for navigating the demands of the job market.
We stand united with those affected by recent challenges, and we are confident that brighter days are on the horizon. The Coven Eau Claire is here to support you in your journey towards new beginnings. Together, we will navigate this transition and pave the way for a future filled with success and fulfillment.