St. Joseph’s awaits Aurora’s plans

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:27 pm

St. Joseph’s awaits Aurora’s plans in West Bend
New hospital will be near new medical clinic

By Steve Jagler, of SBT

As St. Joseph’s Community Hospital prepares to break ground this month for a new hospital in Washington County, it is awaiting word on how the 800-pound guerilla of the southeastern Wisconsin health care market will react.
Aurora Health Care plans to build a new medical clinic just four miles from the new St. Joseph’s site.
St. Joseph’s will proceed with its plans to build a new campus south of West Bend, regardless of how Milwaukee-based Aurora reacts, according to John Reiling, president and chief executive officer of St. Joseph’s and its parent organization, SynergyHealth Inc.
"It is in part because of the potential of that competition that we are building the new hospital in that location," Reiling said.
During its due diligence before deciding to proceed with building a new hospital, St. Joseph’s accounted for the potential that Aurora could build a competing medical facility, Reiling said.
The location of the new St. Joseph’s, at the intersection of US Highway 45 and Pleasant Valley Road in the Town of Polk, has been the source of local controversy.
Critics wanted the new hospital to be built near or at its current location in downtown West Bend on South Silverbrook Drive.
Although rumblings of discontent can still be heard downtown, the criticism has quieted a bit since the details of the new hospital were announced, St. Joseph spokeswoman Janet Ford said. The plans for the hospital were on display for thousands of people to see at the recent Washington County Fair, Ford said.
"We had a good opportunity to gauge the enthusiasm for the project, and peole have come to terms now that the hospital is going to move," Ford said. "In general, the reception has been very good, and there is some excitement."
The $55 million, 173,000-square-foot new St. Joseph’s will feature 78 beds on a 143-acre site. The hospital was designed by Gresham, Smith & Partners of Nashville, Tenn., and is receiving national acclaim for its focus on patient safety.
The new hospital will be built by C.G. Schmidt Inc., a Milwaukee-based company that is constructing many of the new state-of-the-art medical facilities in southeastern Wisconsin.
The new St. Joseph’s is expected to be opened in 2005.
The new campus and its convenient location will enable St. Joseph’s to better recruit and retain health care professionals, including physicians, Ford said.
In recent years, Aurora has been acquiring parcels of land near the new St. Joseph’s site.
Aurora plans to build a medical center on a 35-acre site at the northeast corner of Highways 45 and 60 in the Village of Jackson, Aurora spokesman Christopher Miller said.
"It will be a full-service medial clinic to replace the current Jackson facility that we have there now," Miller said. "It will obviously have a full array of services."
The physicians at the existing Aurora clinic have a referral relationship with the existing St. Joseph’s. The question that remains unanswered is whether the physicians at the new Aurora clinic will have a referral relationship with the new St. Joseph’s.
"There’s been no decision in that regard," Miller said. "We don’t know what the relationship will be. That will be for the physicians (to decide). There are still things that are not decided, but we’re very clear on the fact that we have plans to build a replacement clinic."

Aug. 8, 2003 Small Business Times, Milwaukee, by Steve Jagler, SBT executive editor

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