Hospital gets ok from Plan Commission
Posted: December 9, 2016
The proposed Marshfield Hospital, to be constructed on the site of the former Plaza Inn & Suites in Eau Claire, 1202 W. Clairemont Avenue, received unanimous approval from the City of Eau Claire Plan Commission on Monday night. The project initially calls for a 44-bed hospital, but that could increase to 72 beds to proceed.
Officials with HSHS that oversees Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire and St. Joseph's Hospital in Chippewa Falls expressed concern and the hospital condemned the project saying it is unnecessary in a market in which many hospital beds already are unfilled.
"This project does nothing to address this community's highest needs" Julie Manas CEO and president of Sacred Heart Hospital, who added that surveys ranking mental health and alcohol and drug abuse as top health concerns in the region.
Scott Polenz, Marshfield's West Division administrator, said Marshfield officials believe they can curb health care costs by operating their own hospital instead of paying HSHS to provide hospital space.
"Our vision is to lower costs…and in order for us to do that, we have to have an integrated system," said Polenz.
But Manas and others critized the notion that Marshfield can reduce chronically high health care costs in the Eau Claire area by building the new hospital. And lawyers representing HSHS argued that the project should require city council approval as well as that of the Plan Commission because it includes multiple buildings on site.
However, City Community Development Director Daryl Tufte disagreed, saying city rules allow multiple buildings on one site.
On October 17th, the City of Eau Claire Plan Commission approved a cancer center be built at the hospital site in 2017. The location is just west of HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital.
"The Plan Commission's unanimous approval for our hospital and for our cancer center in October is a win for patients in the Chippewa Valley. We can take the next steps to implement our "Caring for the Chippewa Valley plan that will maximize efficiency with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes and making care for affordable in our area," said Scott Polenz, chief administrative officer for Marshfield Clinic. TBL