HSHS Closure: A Journey of Values, Grief and Healthcare in the Wake of a Difficult Decision

Interview with HSHS CEO discusses closures of HSHS and Prevea locations

In a recent interview with Catholic Health World’s Julie Minda, Damond Boatwright, President and CEO of HSHS, discussed the reasons behind the closure of its hospitals in western Wisconsin. Boatwright explained that more than 60% of vulnerable populations in the area used HSHS hospitals, which may have contributed to their decision to close. He also mentioned that they had tried to create their own insurance company as an alternative solution, but this did not work out due to a lack of interest from potential partners.

In the interview, Boatwright said that “The market is oversupplied,” and they had tried to identify potential Catholic systems to partner with, offering them right of first refusal. However, none were interested or able to. They then attempted to reach an agreement with a non-Catholic partner but were unable to do so.

Boatwright explained that the impacted communities went through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining and eventually acceptance. He discussed how HSHS left the area and how other organizations in similar circumstances might have just left without regard for the collateral damage caused by their actions. However, HSHS wanted to continue leading with its values and do what was right even though people may not have been ready for it.

Boatwright also mentioned that HSHS reached out to other health care providers to collaborate on the transition of its patients and early on reached out to elected officials. While there may have been some pushback from those impacted by the closure, Boatwright believes that it was ultimately necessary for maintaining high-quality healthcare in the region.

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