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Update: Minocqua Hospital Opening Delayed

Dean S. Acheson photo

MINOCQUA – Marshfield Clinic Health System (MCHS) has announced it’s delaying the opening of its new hospital in Minocqua due to issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. A new date for the opening has not been set.

MCHS released a statement Monday from interim chief administrative officer Dave Olejniczak of Marshfield Medical Center – Minocqua announcing cancellation of the planned April 20 opening of the hospital. “As we work to reallocate staffing and resources in anticipation of a patient surge, we’ve made the decision to temporarily delay the opening of our new hospital, which would require regulatory review not currently available to us,” he said.

While the inability to get timely regulatory review was a primary factor in delaying the opening, the coronavirus pandemic related issues also played a role, the official said. However, the pandemic has not affected the actual construction, which is on schedule. Looking forward, he said they would consider other issues in determining a new opening date. “The timing of opening of our facility will be based on several factors, such as the state of the COVID emergency, patient and community needs, availability of regulatory review and more,” aid Olejniczak. “Given the current state of emergency, our first priority is to meet the needs of the community, and as such, we are collaborating with Ascension Howard Young Medical Center where appropriate.”

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

In an earlier statement from the two health care providers, it was noted that Howard Young in Woodruff was to transition all its labor and delivery services area to the Marshfield Medical Center-Minocqua once it opened.

Preparing for COVID-19 patients

MCHC officials were also asked about their preparation to handle any COVID-19 patient surge in their service area in coordination with Howard Young, which has a 99-bed licensed hospital. (Howard Young is maintaining a capacity currently of about 50 beds.) “Our plans, like all health systems, are changing daily, if not hourly as we prepare for the anticipated surge in COVID-19 patients,” according to their additional statement. “However, we are working closely with Howard Young to support them with staff and resources during this pandemic.

“Marshfield Clinic is participating in joint incident command calls with Ascension Northern Region (Woodruff, Eagle River, Rhinelander and Tomahawk), and frequent calls with local Ascension leadership to coordinate surge planning. “We have developed shared employee agreements between the Clinic, HYMC and ERMH (Eagle River Memorial Hospital), which allows MCHS employees to provide patient care at HYMC and ERMH, allowing Ascension to increase patient care capacity at both HYMC and ERMH. “MCHS physicians can now provide additional inpatient coverage at HYMC as well as additional Emergency Department Coverage at HYMC and ERMH.”

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