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Marshfield Clinic Health Systems to Soon Deliver New Hospital at Minocqua

MINOCQUA – On Monday, community leaders and personnel from area emergency medical services got a first-hand look at Minocqua’s new full-service hospital scheduled to officially open April 20 at 7 a.m.

Owned and operated by Marshfield Clinic Health System, the Marshfield Medical Center-Minocqua will boast a surgery center, 24-hour emergency department, physical and occupational therapy services, 14 private patient rooms, birthing center, pharmacy, imaging/radiology and lab services.

Among the groups touring the facility were local government officials, Minocqua chamber staff, area EMS providers, and Marshfield Clinic case managers and Foundation members. After leading the EMS tour of the acute hospital, Dr. Michael Schaars, MD, vice president of medical affairs for the campus, sat for a brief interview before the next tour was to begin. “The MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner is here and it’s installed,” he said. “The CT (computed tomography) scanner will be moved over any day now. That will be coming from the clinic and put in here.”

The all-new MRI will enhance comfort, image quality and effectiveness for patients. The new technology will accelerate exam times, reduce sound for neurological and orthopedic exams and capture the growing volume of patients with metallic implants, according to the hospital’s Facebook posting.

Schaars said the community would not see a difference in physician care. “The one thing that we want to be certain that everybody understands is that the same physicians who have been providing care in this community at Howard Young will be providing it here at this facility,” he said. The new hospital will have its own interventional radiology. It was not able to use its own personnel at Howard Young, which had its own specialists in that field.

Interventional radiologists use image-guided technology, such as X-rays, CT scans and MRI, to perform minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat various cancers. They can also do procedures such as treating an abscess on the abdomen or pelvis that in the past had to be done by a surgeon. The Minocqua campus will be linked via video conferencing and other technology sharing to the greater Marshfield Clinic Health System to offer greater patient care, he said.

Schaars led each group on hour-long tour of the two-story, 72,000-square-foot hospital. Along the way, piled high against the walls, were a seemingly countless number of boxes of equipment and supplies, waiting to be opened and either installed or distributed. Trades people paused or ducked out of the way as the EMS group filed past a maze of rooms (still unsigned and mostly empty), ranging from reception, to the surgery center with its four operating rooms and three procedure rooms, and the birthing center on the second floor, replete with five private rooms for labor and delivery and dedicated C-section room for planned or urgent deliveries.

Questions by the EMS personnel understandably centered on logistics of bringing patients into the ER as well as radio codes.Patients being transferred by ambulance can chose, if they are able, to be taken either to the Minocqua or the Woodruff hospital. Otherwise, it's up to the EMS team to select a destination.

Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff is transitioning all its labor and delivery services area to the Marshfield Medical Center-Minocqua. Howard Young-Ascension patients will continue to have the option of delivering at Ascension St. Mary's Hospital in Rhinelander, according to a joint press release by the two medical providers. Based on historic numbers at Howard Young, the new birthing center will handle about 280 births each year, the doctor said. Mother and child will have a large labor, delivery and postpartum room. “Plenty of room for them, their newborn baby and all the family they want to visit,” he said.

Open house for the public planned

The public and other staff will be invited to an open house to tour the hospital from 5-7 p.m. on April 14, according to Amber Weldon, regional manager of communications for Marshfield Clinic Health Systems. Due to privacy and security concerns, tours will not be available after that date. Weldon said staffing for the new hospital is “looking good,” but they are still taking applications for open positions. They held two career fairs with a good turnout of job seekers.

Access to the hospital is off State Highway 70 West, directly across from the high school. The hospital entrance is on the south side; the clinic’s entrance is on the east side.

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