Ascension Wisconsin says "We are not - and never were - closing St. Joe's"

MILWAUKEE -- Ascension Wisconsin issued a statement on Friday, April 27 in response to feedback it received from Milwaukee leaders that it would "pause" plans to reconfigure services at Ascension St. Joseph Hospital.

Bernie Sherry, Senior Vice President, Ascension Healthcare, Ministry Market Executive, Ascension Wisconsin issued this statement:

"To be clear, “pause” means we are stopping the plan to consolidate medical/surgical and ICU inpatient beds and surgery from St. Joe’s to Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Milwaukee.

"We are not - and never were - closing St. Joe’s.

"We will continue to work toward expanding primary care at St. Joe’s because we recognize how important having a medical home is to our patients. We also will continue to explore opportunities with organizations that offer compatible health and social services that are interested in leasing existing, available space at St. Joe’s. In addition, Ascension Wisconsin is committed to the future of Ascension St. Francis and there are no plans to close this access point for our community.

"Ascension Wisconsin’s three city hospitals play an essential role in Milwaukee’s safety net system, providing quality care for those who are poor and most vulnerable. For more than 170 years, that has been our Mission and our privilege. That has not changed and will not change.

"Over the coming months, we will begin adopting the Ascension brand across all our Milwaukee hospitals. While our name and signs are changing, our commitment to providing personalized, compassionate care is not. Like all healthcare systems, Ascension Wisconsin must continue to respond to the changing healthcare landscape and adapt to how care is delivered. We will continue to stabilize and reshape our offerings to evolve as an integrated system of care that provides high-value, quality care and an outstanding patient experience.

"There is much work to do and it will take all of us – health systems and other providers, federal, state and local elected and governmental officials together with community stakeholders - to tackle the public health challenges that face us. All of us have a role to play in developing broad-based, holistic solutions to transform our healthcare system from one that treats people when they’re sick to one that helps people stay well and live their best lives. Ascension Wisconsin looks forward to being a part of the solution.”

Mayor Tom Barrett released the following statement in a news release:

“I am pleased Ascension Healthcare was receptive to the feedback various community stakeholders and I provided, and that as a result they have made a decision to not consolidate their services at St. Joseph’s Hospital.”

“People from all over our city, regardless of income, need and deserve accessible health care. While I am certainly satisfied by their decision, the work continues to ensure our most vulnerable populations receive the help they need.”

Milwaukee Alderman Khalif Rainey issued this statement:

"After just receiving official word that Ascension Wisconsin will no longer pursue cutting services at St. Joseph’s hospital, I am pleased with this latest development. While I am thankful for the health care provider making this right decision, I am also thankful for the efforts of the community, the neighborhood and leadership in Milwaukee for helping Ascension officials see the correct course."