Women, Infants and Children office to open at Ascension St. Joseph

Milwaukee Health Department partners with health system

Last updated on June 18th, 2019 at 10:39 am

A new Women, Infants and Children office will open at Ascension St. Joseph, a step forward in the safety net hospital’s plan to blend traditional medical services with social services at its campus on Milwaukee’s northwest side.

The new WIC office – a partnership with the city of Milwaukee Health Department – will provide nutritious food, education and referrals to other health and social services for low-income, nutritionally at-risk pregnant women, postpartum mothers, infants and young children up to age 5.

The office will be located in the Women’s Outpatient Center on the hospital’s fifth floor at St. Joseph, 5000 W. Chambers St. The Women’s Outpatient Center serves low-income women and their babies throughout pregnancy, delivery and the infants’ early months. Forty percent of the WOC patients qualify for WIC benefits but are not currently enrolled, according to the Milwaukee Health Department.

Existing WIC offices are located at Aurora Sinai Medical Center and Sixteenth Street Community Health Center, Seeds of Health, Inc., Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. locations.

Over the past year, Ascension Wisconsin has sought partners for its plan to make St. Joseph a “community anchor” in the Sherman Park neighborhood that provides medical services and addresses social determinants of health. Leaders of the health system have floated the idea of partnering with providers of long-term care, multi-generational and multi-income housing, education and job training, transportation and nutrition services.

That vision emerged after Ascension officials in April 2018 initially announced plans to downsize services at St. Joseph and lease the vacated space to community organizations. The plan was an effort to stem losses at the hospital, which serves a high volume of patients who are not covered by commercial insurance. Following mounting concerns from city and community leaders, officials decided to halt those plans and maintain inpatient beds, ICU, surgery, emergency medicine, OB/GYN and NICU at the campus.

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