- Marshfield Clinic will close its Wisconsin-based Park Falls Home Health and Hospice facility at the end of February due to “limited resources,” a company spokesperson told Healthcare Dive on Thursday.
- Marshfield has struggled financially in recent quarters, and most recently posted an operating loss of $133.5 million for the nine months ending Sept. 30, 2023 at a ‐5.8% margin.
- The closure comes after Marshfield abandoned merger talks with Minnesota-based Essentia Health earlier this month. The health system subsequently announced it would furlough 3% of its staff in a bid to manage rising labor costs.
Marshfield’s decision to shutter its hospice and home health offerings reflects its continued efforts to trim costs.
The nonprofit health system, which operates at least 11 hospitals and 60 clinics across Wisconsin and Michigan, cut executive pay by 15% in November and suspended its 401(k) match for employees until April 1 as part of a “financial turnaround strategy,” a company spokesperson confirmed to Healthcare Dive.
Marshfield announced this month it would discontinue certain oral surgery services beginning Jan. 31 due to an inability to meet patient demand, according to a release from the operator. Provider departures and a need to transition resources to “areas where patients can benefit the most,” motivated the decision to reduce services, a company spokesperson said.
The system also suspended surgical services at its Stevens Point, Wisconsin-based campus in December.
The operator is also trimming costs beyond medical care. The operator will shutter its New Visions Gallery at Marshfield Medical Center on March 1, which has provided patients and community members access to visual art exhibits since 1975.
The closure of services at Park Falls could force patients to travel further for services.
When rural facilities close, patients have to travel an average of 20 additional miles for regular inpatient care and up to 40 miles for less common services, which may include hospice care, according to a 2021 study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
Nationwide, rural hospital closures are on the rise as they struggle to recover from the financial strains of the COVID-19 pandemic and manage what they say are unfavorable reimbursement rates from payers.
Last year, nine rural hospitals closed and 30% of rural hospitals were at risk of closing, according to a report from the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform.