Boatwright Discusses Challenges and Impact of HSHS Healthcare Closures on Rural Wisconsin’s Healthcare System

Interview with HSHS CEO discusses closures of HSHS and Prevea locations

Damond Boatwright, CEO of HSHS, spoke with Julie Minda from Catholic Health World about the closure of HSHS and Prevea locations in western Wisconsin and its impact on rural healthcare. WEAU has requested to speak with Boatwright but is waiting for a response. In the interview, Boatwright commented on how vulnerable populations, Medicaid, and Medicare might have contributed to the health care dynamics in the region. He noted that more than 60% of those populations used HSHS hospitals.

Boatwright also discussed efforts made by HSHS to change its situation before deciding on closure. The organization tried to create its own insurance company as a commercial product that lowered the cost of care for those who signed up for that narrow network product. However, this failed due to an oversupply of health care offerings in the community. Additionally, when none of the Catholic systems were interested or able to partner with HSHS, they reached out to potential non-Catholic partners but couldn’t find an agreement.

Boatwright explained that the reaction from impacted communities mirrored the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, and eventually acceptance. He also said that many other organizations in similar circumstances would have just left the market without any regard for collateral damage caused by their departure. However, he stated that HSHS reached out to other health care providers to collaborate on patient transitions and early on contacted elected officials.

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