Rural Healthcare Uncertainty: HSHS and Prevea Closures Leave a State of Shock

Interview with HSHS CEO discusses closures of HSHS and Prevea locations

HSHS and Prevea recently announced the closing of their locations in western Wisconsin, leaving rural healthcare communities in a state of uncertainty. In an interview with Catholic Health World’s Julie Minda, Damond Boatwright, President and CEO of HSHS, discussed the reasons behind the closure and what it means for rural healthcare.

Boatwright explained that vulnerable populations, such as those on Medicaid and Medicare, may have played a role in the health care dynamics of the region. More than 60% of these populations used HSHS hospitals. However, Boatwright also mentioned that the organization tried to create its own insurance company as a commercial product to lower the cost of care for those who signed up for it. While this idea could have worked successfully in areas with limited options, it ultimately failed due to oversupply in the market.

In an attempt to find a solution, HSHS reached out to potential Catholic systems to partner with them and offered them right of first refusal. However, none were interested or able to take on the challenge. The health system then attempted to reach an agreement with a potential non-Catholic partner but couldn’t make it work.

Boatwright commented that the reaction of impacted communities mirrors the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, and eventually acceptance. When asked about how HSHS left the area, Boatwright stated that many other organizations in similar circumstances might have just left without any regard for the collateral damage caused by their actions. However, HSHS took a different approach by reaching out to other health care providers to collaborate on the transition of its patients and early on contacted elected officials.

Overall, Boatwright emphasized that HSHS wanted to continue leading with its values and do what was right even though people may not have been ready for this change.

HSHS and Prevea recently announced the closing of their locations in western Wisconsin, leaving rural healthcare communities in a state of uncertainty. In an interview with Catholic Health World’s Julie Minda, Damond Boatwright, President and CEO of HSHS, discussed the reasons behind the closure and what it means for rural healthcare. Boatwright explained that vulnerable…

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