/ Letters / Ascension should be ashamed

Ascension should be ashamed

July 24, 2020

To the Editor:

Today (July 17), after fuming over the blindside last week from Ascension that they are discontinuing Spirit II services out of Howard Young Medical Center, I received in the mail marketing material from Ascension inviting me to come to Ascension Medical Group and touting their commitment to provide health care services in the Northwoods. This was infuriating. I returned the mailing with a request to remove me from any future mailings. I do not have faith in their mission and values, when they so obviously do not make decisions in the best interest of the communities they serve.   

Ascension has defaulted on every promise made to this community and our hospitals when they took over from Ministry Health. Ascension promised to recruit and maintain physicians at the Woodruff and Eagle River clinics. That never materialized and, as a matter of fact, we have less providers now than when they took over. They promised to maintain and grow health care services in North Central Wisconsin, and then proceeded to sell St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield, and St. Clare’s Hospital in Weston, and did basically nothing to prevent the loss of the Birthing Center at Howard Young Medical Center.

Spirit II was a collaboration between Howard Young Medical Center, Howard Young Foundation and the entire northern community. People were dedicated to and driven by the “Minutes Matter” campaign in support of making this life saving service available. Many community members donated small and large sums of money to accomplish making air service available.  

Ascension obviously decided that minutes do not matter for people in our community. The fact that this decision was made with no forewarning, and no discussion with the communities it impacts, speaks loudly that it was done for purely monetary reasons. Trying to convince us that one helicopter operating out of Mosinee will provide the same level of service that we currently have is unbelievable and insulting.    

I would have more respect for Ascension if they just honestly admitted they are focusing all of their money and growth on the large hospitals in metropolitan areas of the state, and they have no interest in supporting the small and mid-size hospitals they own. I think as Northwoods communities, we can only hope that Ascension divests themselves of Howard Young Medical Center, Eagle River Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital, and Sacred Heart Hospital to a health care organization that will make an honest effort to ensure good health care service for our Northwoods communities.

Judith E. Nelson




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