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Will new hospital create new jobs for Janesville?

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JAMES P. LEUTE
October 12, 2009
— Job gains at a new medical facility on one side of Janesville will likely result in cuts on the other.

When it opens in late 2011, the new St. Mary's Janesville Hospital and Dean Clinic Janesville will directly employ nearly 700 people. Another 150 or so indirect jobs will be created to serve the hospital and clinic.


The new hospital expects to employ about 300 people, said Mary Starmann-Harrison, president and CEO of SSM Health Care of Wisconsin, the parent company of St. Mary's.


Some of the 300 positions will be filled by nurses and other employees who work at St. Mary's Hospital in Madison but live in the Janesville area, she said.


"We don't know how many will want to transfer, and some won't be able to because they work in a very specialized area at St. Mary's in Madison that's not going to be available in Janesville," Starmann-Harrison said. "It's very hard for us at this point to know how many will be interested, but I know there will be some."


Kerry Swanson, president of St. Mary's Janesville Hospital, said about 50 to 70 nurses at the Madison hospital live in the Janesville area.


"It's exciting because we have these nurses who are already trained and are living our culture and values," Swanson said. "For the management in Madison to say that they're very willing to work with us to get those nurses down to Janesville is huge."


Starmann-Harrison added that St. Mary's has never had a problem hiring nurses in Madison.


Craig Samitt, Dean's president and CEO, said the new clinic would be a consolidation of the system's Riverview and Northview clinics in Janesville.


The two clinics now have 335 employees who will move to the new facility. In addition, the clinic will fill about 45 new positions, he said.


"We're committed to making the project a driver of economic growth in Janesville," Samitt said. "We want to create the reality of an expanded health care presence because we feel that investing in the community, especially these days, will be a major economic driver in Janesville.


"With all of the swirling angst and anxiety in the community, it feels great to be able to offer good news and to be growing and creating new jobs while others are shrinking."


Mercy Health System officials said that job growth is good, but they question how many jobs will really be "new."


"What's not being taken into account is the expected decrease at our place," said Joe Nemeth, a Mercy vice president. "Some of it will be switching numbers from us to them.


"The net increase in new jobs to Janesville will be far less."


When the 50-bed St. Mary's Janesville Hospital opens, it is expected to attract 30 percent of Mercy's inpatient census traditionally under the care of Dean doctors.


Javon Bea, Mercy's president and CEO, said it's highly unlikely that Mercy Hospital will weather a 30 percent reduction without staffing cuts.



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