Still in preliminary stages, the clinic has not decided whether or not to seek a partnership to undertake the project
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield Clinic is looking to build a cutting-edge tertiary care facility in Marshfield. The plan still has to be approved by the Clinic board of directors before moving forward.
The facility is intended to decrease the cost of care for Marshfield Clinic patients and also provide physicians with a state-of-the-art location to practice.
“Ensuring a state-of-the-art tertiary care facility in Marshfield is something that’s very important to our 350 (doctors) that are in Marshfield and want to continue practicing in this community,” said Marshfield Clinic Health System CEO Dr. Susan Turney. “We don’t know if we’re going to go it alone or if we’re going to partner with someone to make sure that we have the facility that we need to continue providing care to our patients.”
Turney stressed that the discussions related to a new facility have remained strictly in-house at this time and that Marshfield Clinic had not directly discussed the building of a new facility with any other health care provider.
“We’re in discussions with Aspirus, and we have an exclusivity agreement with them, so we’re really not talking to any other potential collaborators at this time,” Turney said, adding that discussions with Aspirus were centered around clinical integration and not construction of a facility in Marshfield. “With Aspirus we’re talking about a number of different things and not exclusively a hospital in Marshfield.”
Hub City Times reached out to Aspirus for a comment on the nature of their agreement and relationship with Marshfield Clinic. Aspirus has yet to respond to those inquiries.
No specific location has been determined for the proposed facility, but Turney said that in any plan “proximity to where the providers are and the other services, including lab and X-ray, is going to be really critical to optimize our resources.”
Turney said the model of health care delivery is changing and that much of the patient care that is currently being provided in a hospital setting can now be moved to ambulatory settings. Additionally, she said that in the future some care that is provided in clinics will be provided off-site through “virtual care and other mobile technologies.”
“I think all systems are trying to figure out how do you lower the cost of care, make sure the patient is getting the right care, at the right site, by the right provider because that’s the only way we can lower the cost of care,” Turney said. She later added, “Many would project that in the next (10) years that 40-50 percent of the care that’s provided in a hospital could be moved to the ambulatory setting.”
Marshfield Clinic is currently seeking to join the abouthealth partnership, which is made up of seven of Wisconsin’s largest health care systems including Aspirus, Aurora Health Care, Bellin Health, Gundersen Health System, ProHealth Care, ThedaCare, and UW Health.
Turney said, “abouthealth was formed and is a clinically integrated network, and part of the clinical integration means that you have information about the patients’ care across the continuum. So if you have a clinic and you don’t have a hospital partner or a hospital, you lack the information about what happens for that patient during that episode of care.”
Clinic leadership met with community leaders on Thursday night regarding the issue of building a new health care facility in Marshfield. Mayor Chris Meyer, who attended the meeting, said, “The city is committed to working with the Marshfield Clinic, Saint Joseph’s Hospital, and any other health care partner in our community.”
Meyer added, “The city is working with Marshfield Clinic and Marshfield Clinic Health System leadership to understand what they are proposing and identify city infrastructure demands so we can determine what, if anything, will be required from us. The Clinic is committed to Marshfield and wants to grow. They feel that a new hospital, either their own or through a partnership, is the best way to not only maintain their current services but grow them.”
Geoffrey Huys, system director for public relations and communications for Ministry Health Care said that they are not engaged in talks with Marshfield Clinic about the planned facility.
“We are currently not in discussion with Marshfield Clinic regarding their plans to construct a second hospital in Marshfield,” Huys said.