March 7, 2016
Fort HealthCare recently acquired 23.4 acres at the southwest corner of the intersection of Highway 12 and Highway 26 for the purposes of developing a healthcare campus years into the future. Mike Wallace, President and CEO of Fort HealthCare, said “Leadership at Fort HealthCare is accustomed to planning operations one to three years out, however for the purposes of assessing buildings in this context, we have to look 10 to 20 years out. Our current property is landlocked in the middle of a residential area. While we have had nearly 70 years of quality services at this location, we have reached the limit of capacity. With all the regulatory changes over the past 70 years, we can no longer use a good portion of our campus for acute patient care, as there is little we can do to those portions to meet code for that purpose. Tearing down those sections and rebuilding in the same location would be too painful, disruptive and more expensive than working with a new site altogether. In order to efficiently continue to use this site, we will need to remove a whole block of homes and close down a street. When we bring in the fact that we serve the greater Jefferson County, access to the site from surrounding communities becomes an obvious additional important factor. We need to make sure that emergency vehicles can quickly and easily access us from Johnson Creek, Lake Mills, Jefferson, Cambridge, Whitewater, and the surrounding rural areas.”
This site location at Highways 12 and 26 was chosen for many reasons: it is at the hub of access from all the surrounding areas, there is enough land in the area to host a new campus, and it will be the most efficient way to continue providing acute healthcare services in the community in 15 years. There are no immediate plans to commence construction and most likely there will not be any plans for the next 10 years. Planning a new facility will take 18-24 months. Building a new facility will take another 18-24 months. We are simply preserving land that we know will be the ideal area to serve the entire service area. According to Sharon Schmeling, Chairman of the Board on the Fort HealthCare Board of Directors, “This acquisition provides Fort HealthCare with the foundation for progress and the potential to better serve patients and the communities around Jefferson County well into the future.”
Fort HealthCare will work diligently on the long range strategic plan for the current campus, as there are many possibilities for the next decade. City Manager, Matt Trebatoski, indicated that he is pleased that Fort HealthCare is making a long term commitment to Fort Atkinson. “I am excited about working with Fort HealthCare on finding possible creative ways to meet future needs of the community at both the current and new campuses.”
Acquiring this land in Jefferson County provides assurance that the community will have access to healthcare in years to come in a convenient location. Dr. Jon McLaughlin, physician and board member on the Fort HealthCare Board of Directors states “With this acquisition we are looking to the future and the continued well-being of the community. Employers, vibrant educational systems and access to healthcare are the three most important factors in a community. We currently have these; however, we are halfway through the useful life of our current facility and while we have no current plans to move, we need to plan for the future and position ourselves for the progress of the community and the generations to come.”
Fort HealthCare is an integrated hospital and health system that attracts patients from throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Fort Memorial Hospital is a modern, fully accredited, acute care facility with 82 licensed beds. More than 100 physicians are on staff. Fort Medical Group, a subsidiary of Fort HealthCare, currently employs more than 60 physicians, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare providers. Fort Medical Group clinics offering primary and specialty surgical care are located in Fort Atkinson, Cambridge, Johnson Creek, Jefferson, Lake Mills and Whitewater. Other services offered by Fort HealthCare include occupational medicine, rehabilitation and sports medicine, wound care, urgent care, a preferred provider network for employers known as FortCare and more. Fort HealthCare is a partner in the University of Wisconsin Cancer Center at Johnson Creek and in the Advanced Pain Management clinic in Fort Atkinson. Most major health insurance products are accepted.