The Kenosha City Council criticized Froedtert South’s plans to move its Downtown emergency department to a facility in Pleasant Prairie at the end of the month.
Council members voted unanimously Monday night for a resolution against the closing of Froedtert Kenosha Hospital’s emergency department at 6308 Eighth Ave.
Earlier this month Froedtert South announced plans to convert the site’s emergency department into a 24/7 urgent care clinic.
President and CEO Ric Schmidt said the hospital’s inpatient services and emergency department services would be transitioned to Froedtert Pleasant Prairie Hospital, 9555 76th St., in a continuation of repositioning efforts to centralize the surgical and interventional services at Froedtert Pleasant Prairie Hospital that began a few years ago.
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Other plans for the Downtown hospital include converting underutilized spaces into inpatient and outpatient mental health and inpatient rehabilitation services, among other projects.
Both Kenosha Fire Department Chief Christopher Bigley and Mayor John Antaramian expressed concerns at that time about the planned closure of the Downtown emergency department.
The council resolution states: “Froedtert South, Inc. represents that it strives ‘to make the best in health care available locally to the communities we serve,’ yet, it is in the process of reducing its capacity to provide inpatient and emergency services to residents of the City of Kenosha…. (The) community in the City of Kenosha, and specifically those with medical emergencies, will be negatively impacted by the reduction of services at Froedtert South, Inc. Whereas, some patients may be able to endure the additional travel to secure medical care, there will be some for whom the delay may prove fatal.”
Ald. Dave Bogdala, the resolution’s principal sponsor, said he hoped to delay the emergency department’s closing.
“I think it’s important for us to make known the damage that will ensue if that location closes down. The impact to our fire department, the impact to many different governmental services here are going to be severely impacted should this close down,” Bogdala said.
“While I applaud the efforts of Mr. Schmidt and his board for trying to tackle the mental health needs of our community, I do really appreciate that, we shouldn’t do it at the expense of the emergency room because many, many people are going to suffer for that. … My hope here is that we can slow this down,” he said.
Ald. Daniel Prozanski said the planned closure may have many negative impacts in the community.
“This is an utter betrayal to the community,” Prozanski said. “It’s going to have impacts on our community and they’re not good. As far as I know there’s been no dialogue with the community. … I just think that this community deserves better, it really does.”
Ald. Anthony Kennedy read the names of members of the hospital’s Board of Directors. “I would urge people in the community … (to) call them,” Kennedy said. “Hold them accountable for this decision. Let them hear what your concerns are in reference to this.”
Ald. Keith Rosenberg said closure is “the wrong way to go.”
“Within my district I have two nursing homes, I have two assisted living facilities, and I also have two senior apartments, along with all the seniors that still live within their homes,” Rosenberg said. “We won’t have any hospitals east of Green Bay Road. None, except for a clinic on 22nd Avenue.”
Ald. Curt Wilson said that as the population ages the Downtown emergency room will prove crucial to protecting citizens. He said the planned closure has caused “fear” among many. “I don’t believe (moving the emergency department) is being made in the best interests of the citizens of this great city,” he said.