HSHS CEO Discusses Closure of Rural Hospitals, Communities’ Grief Process and Collaborative Efforts with Other Health Care Providers

Interview with HSHS CEO discusses closures of HSHS and Prevea locations

Damond Boatwright, CEO of HSHS, recently spoke to Catholic Health World about the closure of their hospitals in western Wisconsin and how it could impact rural health care. WEAU has requested an interview with Boatwright, but is waiting for a response. In an interview with Julie Minda, Boatwright discussed the factors that led to the closure, including how more than 60% of vulnerable populations in the region used HSHS hospitals.

Boatwright also mentioned that HSHS tried to create their own insurance company as an alternative to traditional insurance providers, but this commercial product did not succeed due to the oversupply of health care options in the community. Additionally, HSHS offered potential Catholic systems right of first refusal for partnerships but none were interested or able to. They also tried to reach an agreement with a non-Catholic partner but couldn’t either.

Boatwright explained that the reaction of the impacted communities mirrored the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining and eventually acceptance. He commented on how other organizations in similar circumstances may have just left the market without any regard for the collateral damage caused by their departure. However, HSHS reached out to other health care providers and elected officials to collaborate on the transition of their patients early on.

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