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Evers promises help for Chippewa Valley health care workers, congressman wants more

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(The Center Square) – Western Wisconsin’s congressman wants the governor to help with the planned hospital closures in the Chippewa Valley.

Republican Congressman Derrick Van Orden asked Gov. Tony Evers to use any state or federal resources that can be tapped to make sure the people who use HSHS’ hospitals or Prevea’s clinics in and around Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls are not left without medical care.

“Rural communities, like those in the Third Congressional District, are continuously left on the sidelines when it comes to accessible health care, and these hospital closures will only make it more difficult for Wisconsinites to get the medical care they need,” Van Orden said.

The two hospitals announced last month they will be closing their hospitals and clinics by mid-April.

Van Orden said the closures will leave parts of western Wisconsin with fewer emergency rooms, far less rural EMS service and the loss of one of the region’s cancer centers.

“This is truly a dire situation and I want to keep all available options on the table in an attempt to mitigate the negative consequences of these closures. This is why I am asking you to join me in requesting all available resources, state and federal, be made available to the state of Wisconsin,” he said.

Evers stopped in Eau Claire to promise help for the 1,400 people who will lose their jobs when HSHS and Prevea close their doors.

“Our administration is working diligently to help connect affected workers with jobs, ensure patients have uninterrupted access to care, and coordinate with insurers to make sure that people retain continuous, affordable insurance coverage. We’re going to keep working to find immediate and long-term solutions to help address these challenges with every tool and resource that we have at the state level,” the governor said in a statement.

There are two job fairs scheduled in Eau Claire this month, including one today.

HSHS and Prevea said they made the decision to close because of workforce issues, the lingering impact of the coronavirus and other industry trends.

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