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Chippewa Valley Emergency Department Funding Gets Governor Evers Approval

Chippewa Valley Emergency Department Funding Gets Governor Evers Approval

February 28, 2024 2:27 PM CDT
By: James Kelly

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Chippewa Valley Emergency Departments will receive $15 million of reallocated funding with the final approval of Governor Tony Evers.

In a press release, Governor Evers announced he had not only approved the reallocation of the money to support emergency departments in the region, but used line item vetoes to provide more flexibility in how the funding is used.

The move comes as HSHS and Prevea prepare to close all of their facilities in the Chippewa Valley by June 30th, including Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls. The closures will greatly reduce access to healthcare in the region and cost approximately 1,400 people their jobs.

Governor Evers also directed the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance to release the funding immediately and conduct a competitive grant application process with priority for Eau Claire and Chippewa counties.

The reallocation is viewed as a short term solution to a problem that has local and state officials scrambling. But Governor Evers is confident this funding will go a long way in improving the healthcare access concerns facing the Chippewa Valley.

Other healthcare organizations have also announced their intentions in increase care options as needed, but even they say they can’t absorb all of the patients losing their healthcare providers. One organization in particular, OakLeaf Medical Network, has proposed the idea of buying the Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s properties and turning them into independent community hospitals.

As the dates of the closures approach, local and state officials are still searching for long term solutions. In the press release, Governor Evers said “My administration and I are working to do everything we can to support those workers and their families, as well as folks across the area who need to be able to access basic and emergency healthcare services alike.”

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