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Chippewa Valley Emergency Departments See Huge Patient Jump

Chippewa Valley Emergency Departments See Huge Patient Jump

May 22, 2024 2:20 PM CDT

By: James Kelly

Chippewa Valley Emergency Departments are struggling with greater demand in the wake of the Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s Hospital closures.

About two months into the post-HSHS and Prevea era of healthcare in the region, other healthcare providers are reporting massive spikes in patient demands. According to a WPR report, Marshfield Clinic Health System is reporting a 47 percent increase in emergency room patients and a 160 percent increase in birth deliveries. Mayo Clinic Health System officials have also reported an increase in patients seen.

In a statement earlier this week, Wisconsin Democrats once again criticized the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee for refusing to release $15 million in emergency funding for the healthcare industry in the Chippewa Valley.

Governor Tony Evers used line item vetoes to allow the grant program for the funding to cover any hospital services in Western Wisconsin. Republicans argue that line item vetoes made to the approved bill by Governor Evers have made the funding too flexible without a guarantee that it will go to Chippewa and Eau Claire Counties.

A February letter from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services seeking the release of the money promised to give priority to hospitals in the two counties.

As that emergency funding sits in limbo, organizations like Marshfield and Mayo have increased their services as much as possible to cover gaps. Still, Marshfield Clinic’s Eau Claire hospital reported an increase from an average 35 births per month to 91 in April following the closures. They expect those numbers to rise as high as 140 births in July.

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