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Janesville’s new hospital facilities both say they’re busy

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JAMES P. LEUTE
March 16, 2012
— Proponents of new medical facilities in Janesville say the first two months of operations shows the expansions were warranted.

Activity at the new St. Mary’s Janesville Hospital is off the charts, and Dean Clinic Janesville East is so busy that more valet parking attendants are being hired.


Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center North and Mercy Clinic North, the Janesville-based health system’s newest clinic and satellite emergency room, also reports a robust business.


All three facilities opened in early January.


“In general, we’ve experienced much more activity than we expected,” said St. Mary’s hospital spokeswoman Joan Neeno. “We’ve been busy since the day we opened.”


Hospital admissions and in-patient surgeries are well beyond forecasts, she said, and the facility’s emergency room has had significantly more visits than planners predicted.


“We’re on pace to have 11,000 ER visits this year,” she said.


Neeno said accurately predicting ER visits, admissions and in-patient surgeries before a hospital opens is difficult. Even so, hospital officials gave it a try to establish baseline operations, she said. Staffing levels have been appropriate to handle the increased volume, she said.


Diane Wilhelm, Dean’s clinic administrator for Janesville, Delavan and Stoughton, said the new Janesville clinic has been incredibly busy, and staff and patients are providing positive feedback on the feel and design of the new facility.


Wilhelm said patient volume has increased over levels at Dean’s former home at Riverview Clinic.


Part of that, she said, can be attributed to initial interest among people who wanted to visit the clinic and learn the layout before showing up for an actual appointment.


More significantly, she said, Dean has added new patients as a result of open enrollment insurance signups at area businesses and retirees choosing DeanCare Gold, a Medicare insurance plan.


“We’ve generated a lot of new business, and we’ve been incredibly busy,” she said. “Our parking lot is always full.”


The goal for the new Mercy facility near the Pine Tree Plaza was to make trauma and emergency services more accessible to people in northern Rock County, and it’s doing just that, said Barb Bortner, a Mercy vice president.


Since January, Mercy has had a net increase in visits to its two Janesville emergency departments, she said.


“Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center North and Mercy Clinic North is doing very well since it opened in January,” she said. “Both the clinic and emergency room/urgent care is busy taking care of patients.


“Our emergency department sees 40 patients per day on average, and those patient volumes are peaking on the weekends.”


Bortner said Mercy has added staff to meet patient volumes.


The system also launched MercyInQuicker.org, an online program designed to get patients quicker care at the system’s urgent care centers and emergency departments.


Since St. Mary’s and Mercy opened their new emergency departments in January, Janesville EMS crews have had new destinations to deliver patients.


Deputy Fire Chief Gerry Luiting said during the first two months of the year, ambulances delivered approximately 60 percent of patients to Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center, 33 percent to St. Mary’s Janesville Hospital and 7 percent to Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center North.



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