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Local providers withdraw from process to take on Milwaukee County's inpatient psychiatric hospital

Monday, September 18, 2017  
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September 18, Wisconsin Health News

A coalition of local providers has withdrawn from the process to take over services provided at Milwaukee County's inpatient psychiatric hospital, according to a Friday statement. 

Ascension Wisconsin, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and Rogers Behavioral Health announced earlier this year that they were working on a plan to house the county's inpatient and emergency psychiatric services at Ascension's St. Joseph Hospital. 

Their decision to withdraw leaves one vendor still involved in the process. Pennsylvania-based Universal Health Services has talked about building a 120-bed facility. 

"The Joint Task Force of the Mental Health Board will continue its work, and fortunately we have an additional potential partner who has expressed a strong interest in working with us," Duncan Shrout, broad chair, said in a statement. "We thank the coalition for their commitment to the behavioral health needs of our community, and we look forward to continuing to work with them in other ways."

The health board also recently approved studying the feasibility of the county continuing to provide services.

Since announcing their intent to submit a formal proposal, the three providers have spent hours in meetings evaluating a clinical, operational and financial model, according to the coalition's statement.

"After this intensive review, it became evident that we are unable to present a viable proposal," they said. "The need for expanded access to behavioral health services in this community is clear, and we respect the work of Milwaukee County and the Behavioral Health Division to address these issues."

The three said they remain committed to helping meet the behavioral healthcare needs of the community. Their statement did not provide specifics on why their proposal wouldn't move forward.

Peggy Troy, president and CEO of Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, said they'll continue conversations with parties to find and develop solutions to the county's behavioral health challenges.  

"I am deeply disappointed that this proposal did not come together, but that doesn't change Children's commitment to better addressing the mental health of our kids," she said in a statement.

Pat Hammer, president and CEO at Rogers Behavioral Health, said they were disappointed as well. They hope to continue supporting the Behavioral Health Division in taking care of patients. 

"We also look forward to discussing how we can provide any additional support while Milwaukee County finalizes its strategic plans to deliver behavioral health services," Hammer said in a statement.