Gundersen St. Joseph’s Hospital opening new facility in Hillsboro June 15

The new hospital will replace the current facility, which is 68 years old

HILLSBORO, Wis. (WKBT) – Hospitals in larger communities are critical to keeping people safe during the coronavirus pandemic, but rural hospitals are just as important.

Gundersen Health System is opening a new facility in Hillsboro June 15.

Despite opening during the pandemic, Gundersen officials are saying now is the right time.

“A lot of things are out of warranty, they’re not serviced anymore,” Gundersen St. Joseph’s Hospital administrator Kristie McCoic said. “We’re gonna get here in time to avoid anything that could’ve been catastrophic and cause us to have to close care.”

Hillsboro is one of few small towns around the La Crosse area with a hospital.

“You really get to know those patients and you take care of them so much more,” clinic charge RN Katie Olson said.

Now, construction crews are putting on the finishing touches for Hillsboro’s new $33 million hospital.

“This facility is a big economic driver in our community,” McCoic said.

McCoic says the new hospital will fit up to 13 patients and employ 200 staff.

“So for a rural area, I feel like we have a lot of options,” McCoic said.

Olson says most patients she’s treated are from around the area. The hospital has had to ship off patients to larger ones in the past.

“Especially with COVID going on, there’s so many scary things that you don’t know what they’re going to encounter,” Olson said. “And you try and educate them to help them through those processes to make them as comfortable as possible.”

 

McCoic says staff is prepared for all patients, potentially including ones who contract the coronavirus.

“We have incident command in place,” McCoic said.

“We’re ready for patients who may be a possible COVID patient or an actual COVID patient.”

Whether or not the hospital treats a COVID-19 patient, Olson says she’s happy they won’t have too far a travel.

“It’s exciting to be able to help our neighbors and family members close to home versus having to send them to bigger areas,” Olson said.

McCoic says crews will start demolishing the old hospital once the new facility opens. The demolition process will last until November.

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