Orthopedic group's request to keep Wisconsin hospitals open denied


A judge in Wisconsin has denied a request from Altoona, Wis.-based Chippewa Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine to delay the closure of two hospitals, Wisconsin Public Radio reported Feb. 27. 

Earlier in February the orthopedic practice sued Hospital Sisters Health System to keep Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, Wis., open until at least July 21. The practice is contracted with HSHS, and in January the health system said the hospitals would close April 21.

Since the announcement, Chippewa Valley Orthopedics and Sports Medicine have had to cancel previously scheduled surgeries and other services. Its contract with HSHS requires a 180-day notice to terminate the relationship, but no notice was issued by HSHS.

Chippewa Valley Orthopedics and Sports Medicine asked the court to require HSHS and the two hospitals to stay open until July 21, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. But Eau Claire Circuit Judge Sarah Harless denied the request for a temporary injunction on Feb. 27.

Another hearing is scheduled for March 4.

"Our lawsuit against HSHS has, from the beginning, been about how HSHS"s decision to abruptly shut down services and exit Western Wisconsin quickly profoundly affects the people of our community – our patients, our neighbors, our friends, and our families," Austin Crow, MD, Chippewa Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, said in a statement to Becker's. "We filed the suit with eyes wide open, knowing that the Court would face a difficult decision, and we appreciate how re-opening all the services and programs HSHS has forced close ahead of the announced closure date may be impractical and financially prohibitive given how HSHS has operated since January 22. As a practical matter, we would rather be spending our time and resources helping our patients and the broader community. We stand ready to work collaboratively with HSHS to address our concerns and hope they will accept our invitation to resolve our differences outside of protracted litigation so we can focus our attention on what matters most: caring for our patients."

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