Marshfield Clinic pauses labor and delivery care in Rice Lake due to staffing

The health system plans to pause care for up to 60 days, transition patients to Eau Claire

Doctor performs an ultrasound scan on a pregnant woman
A doctor performs an ultrasound scan on a pregnant woman at a hospital in Chicago on Aug. 7, 2018. Teresa Crawford/AP Photo

Marshfield Clinic Health System says staffing limitations at its western Wisconsin medical centers have caused them to pause labor and delivery services in Rice Lake.

The health system announced Tuesday that the temporary pause will begin May 1 and is expected to last between 30 and 60 days. OB-GYN providers at the Rice Lake medical center will continue to provide prenatal and postpartum care during the pause.

Marshfield Clinic leaders said in a press release that staff will notify affected patients and work to transition their care to the Marshfield Medical Center in Eau Claire, which is 60 miles away from the Rice Lake location.

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Marshfield more than doubled labor and delivery services at its Eau Claire location last month, going from eight to 20 beds. The expansion came in response to the closure of Hospital Sisters Health System’s Sacred Heart hospital in Eau Claire and St. Joseph’s hospital in nearby Chippewa Falls.

Dr. Brandom Parkhurst, vice president of medical affairs for Marshfield Clinic, said in a statement the closures have caused “undue stress on an already fragile healthcare market.”

“The ripple effect of the closures is a factor in us having to spread our resources to meet the greatest health care needs throughout western Wisconsin,” Parkhurst said in the press release.