Last updated on September 9th, 2020 at 04:19 pm
Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital – St. Joseph campus has opened a new four-bed OB emergency department at its campus on Milwaukee’s north side.
Ascension Wisconsin said it is the first hospital in Milwaukee to offer a 24-hour OBED dedicated to pregnant women.
One of the goals of the new facility is to reduce wait times at St. Joseph’s existing emergency department, which is among the busiest in the state, seeing about 70,000 visits annually.
“This represents a significant investment in our hospital to provide an elevated standard of care for our patients and positively impact the lives of women, their babies and the families we are privileged to serve,” said Dr. Matthew Lee, medical director of women and families for Ascension Wisconsin.
The emergency department, located within the St. Joseph’s labor and delivery unit, provides care for pregnancy-related emergencies and to diagnose labor. It is staffed by seven OB/GYNs. Ascension Wisconsin did not disclose its investment in the new OBED.
“We care for women from throughout the area, and that includes many high-risk moms-to-be who face both physical and socioeconomic challenges,” said Kevin Kluesner, chief administrative officer of Ascension St. Joseph. “We are dedicating time, energy, and resources to improve birth outcomes, reduce health disparities and improve maternal and infant health. The OBED is another step forward in this important work.”
It’s the latest of several investments by Ascension in its southeastern Wisconsin facilities. In May, the health system opened its new 36,000-square-foot labor and delivery unit at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Milwaukee, a $16 million expansion project.
Ascension in recent years has been examining options for its St. Joseph campus. The health system has committed to providing primary, acute, emergency department and OB-GYN services at the hospital, and has sought community partners to lease remaining unused space at the campus.
The hospital has initiated several programs based on feedback from community members. Among them are a partnership with the city health department’s Office of Violence Prevention and other health care partners to prevent gun violence, hosting a new Milwaukee Health Department-run Women, Infants and Children outreach office at St. Joseph, piloting an opioid recovery coaches program in the hospital’s emergency department, hosting a Blanket of Love program to educate expectant mothers, and partnering with Hunger Task Force to enroll seniors in a free food staples program.