WAUKESHA – Residents throughout southeastern Wisconsin may have noticed new micro-hospitals, or small-scale inpatient facilities, popping up in their communities.

One health care provider has recently opened three facilities in southeastern Wisconsin alone over the last two months — Ascension. While their 33,000 square-foot Waukesha facility at 2325 Fox Run Blvd., Suite 100, recently had a ribbon cutting and is expected to open the first floor of the hospital on Monday, another Ascension micro-hospital opened Aug. 31 in Menomonee Falls at N88-W14275 Main St.. Ascension opened another community hospital shortly after on Sept. 15 in Greenfield at 4935 S. 76 St.

The Waukesha neighborhood hospital will offer emergency, inpatient and outpatient care and lab and medical imaging services all on the first floor — providing a short walking distance to all the services. On the second floor, an Ascension Medical Group Clinic will include primary care, women’s health, cardiology, behavioral health and other specialty services. The second floor is expected to open Oct. 25.

It is the second hospital to open in the city of Waukesha.

Daniel Gell, Ascension regional chief nursing officer, said the goal is to provide quick, intimate care to patients at the right place. He describes the facilities as “one-stop-shops.”

The model and concept of the community hospital, he said, is built around efficiency.

“Unlike a larger hospital where you have to run down the hallway for your equipment, everything really is at the bedside of the patient and the provider and that’s really a convenience,” he said. “When you think about efficiencies in health care (it’s about) the amount of steps that it takes a nurse to get to your patient.”

Gell said the goal at Ascension is to also have staff know the names of every patient and form relationships.

Gell said at the new facilities, Ascension is expecting to also treat patients with COVID-19, rapidly spotting changes in a patient’s condition in the small setting.

“If you look (at) micro-hospitals across the country, you’ll see (they) are very quick — but never at the sake of compromising quality, because at the end of the day it’s still about the patient,” he said.

Gell said “the sky is the limit” for additional microhospitals across the state. Gell said time will tell, but there is an appetite for more.

“In today’s health care society especially it’s tough because of staffing and physician challenges, but I definitely see this as the future of health care,” he said. “The big, large hospitals, I’ve seen it across the country, (they) are having to make tough decisions because they don’t have the staff.”

Froedtert

Ascension isn’t the only health care provider to recently open micro-hospitals in southeastern Wisconsin. Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Network opened two community hospitals in December of 2020 in Waukesha County. One is at 4805 S. Moorland Road, New Berlin and one is at 209 Pewaukee Road, Pewaukee.

The hospitals, which are each approximately 18,000 square feet, also have laboratory, pharmacy and imaging services. Like Ascension, Froedtert also said the facilities provide high-quality care in a streamlined setting close to home.

“Both our hospitals in New Berlin and Pewaukee are meeting and exceeding our planned Emergency Department visits and have helped relieve some of the capacity concerns our other hospitals have felt throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Stephen Schoof, director of external communications for Froedtert, told The Freeman. “Aligned with our health network’s hospital expansion strategy, these community hospitals support the health network’s mission of providing access to academic medicine to diverse communities and delivering the right care in the right place at the right time.”

Froedtert plans to open community hospitals in Mequon and Oak Creek in 2022.