Ascension to hold off on St. Joseph Hospital cutbacks

Posted at 4:18 PM, Apr 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-18 17:43:20-04

MILWAUKEE - In response to the community's feedback, Ascension St. Joseph Hospital will hold off on cutbacks, directing some services to other Ascension hospitals.

The hospital announced that it would move services to other local Ascension healthcare locations. With the cutbacks, the hospital still would have kept the ER and Women's Health Services.

The announcement came with great opposition, as many found that the redirection would impact the city greatly and burden other healthcare facilities.

Aldermen called on the hospital network to halt the cuts, claiming it would put an extra burden on the other Wisconsin hospitals.

Bernie Sherry, the Senior Vice President and Ministry Market Executive released the news that the hospital would pause their plans to reconfigure. 

"We’ve heard how important Ascension is to Milwaukee in providing healthcare to our most vulnerable neighbors," said Sherry in a news release.

Feedback from the mayor, alderman, and other community leaders influenced the hospital to hold off, as the recognized their value in the Milwaukee community. 

"We have served Milwaukee for over a century and we look forward to providing personalized, compassionate care for many generations to come,” said Sherry in the news release.

State Rep. David Crowley (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement about Ascension's plans to pause the cuts:

Like so many members of my community, I was deeply troubled with the proposed downsizing of St. Joseph Hospital which has been a cornerstone in Milwaukee for over a century. I applaud the efforts of my fellow community leaders, elected officials, and Ascension Wisconsin staff for listening to the will of the community and not cutting services at St. Joseph.

This situation has however shone a light on a bigger problem in our overall healthcare system. I continue to be worried by the state of healthcare inequalities in my community, our state, and across the entire country. Thanks to Governor Walker, Wisconsin continues to have some of the lowest Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement rates in the nation, leaving hospitals like St. Joseph that have high percentages of Medicaid recipients, with financial deficits.

Moving forward, we must do more to ensure quality, affordable healthcare options to all citizens of Wisconsin and that is why I call on not only Ascension Wisconsin but all the health care providers in Southeastern Wisconsin to come together and create a system of greater access to primary care services. What we have been doing is clearly not working and without innovative and creative solutions, I fear nothing but the same outcomes moving forward.”

Alderman Khalif J. Rainey said about the decision:

“I am heartened by this pause on the plans to downsize services at St. Joseph – it shows Ascension’s willingness to listen and engage the Common Council, the mayor and the community. I look forward to further discussions and finding ways to keep the vital services in place at St. Joseph and the other Ascension facilities in Milwaukee.”

Alderman Michael J. Murphy added:

“I commend Ascension for this latest development to pause reduction of services. This shows what an engaged community and its leaders can do when unified on an important issue. I would hope the company continues to listen to community input until a final decision on services is reached.”