Froedtert South announces expansion plans into Mount Pleasant

Froedtert South announces expansion plans into Mount Pleasant

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MOUNT PLEASANT — Froedtert South has announced it plans to open a new medical complex in Mount Pleasant near Interstate 94 and Highway 20.

The announcement of Froedtert South building in Racine County follows the May announcement that Advocate Aurora Health is planning to build a $250 million medical complex in Mount Pleasant near Interstate 94 and Highway 20.

Ascension, operators of Racine’s current primary hospital, Ascension All Saints, has also announced that it is building a new $42 million medical center at the northeast corner of Highway 20 and Renaissance Boulevard.

“The Racine area is exploding. I think it’s an exciting time for health care and all businesses,” said Froedtert South President and CEO Ric Schmidt.

The new Froedtert South campus is proposed for a site just east of the planned Aurora campus, with its eastern border at the corner of Highway 20 and Highway V.

Racine County has a shortage of primary-care physicians, according to the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute County Health Rankings: Racine County’s ratio of residents to primary care doctors is 2,140 residents per doctor, almost double the ratio for Wisconsin as a whole and more than double for top-performing counties.

City of Racine Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox said that with the population increase that’s expected with the construction of Foxconn’s advanced manufacturing campus, the county is going to need more health care providers.

The new Froedtert campus, to be known as the Racine Medical Center, is proposed to be built on a 41.25-acre site, according to the conceptual site and operational plan Froedtert submitted to the Village of Mount Pleasant.

Froedtert South officials are planning for the building to be similar to its St. Catherine’s Medical Center in Pleasant Prairie, which has expanded over the years and is in the process of expanding again.

The initial plan would be to build a two-story hospital with the option to expand to a four-story hospital as demand dictates, as has occurred at the St. Catherine’s facility.

According to conceptual plans, a new road would be built to divide the Aurora and Froedtert medical complexes.

The Froedtert medical center could include, but is not limited to, the following general acute care medical and surgical services: intensive care, obstetrical, pediatric, emergency, dialysis, cancer care and rehabilitation services. The property would include multiple medical office buildings on the property, depending on demand.

It also will include primary care and urgent care, as well as a trauma center, which should result in fewer people needing to be transported by Flight For Life from Racine County to Froedtert’s flagship hospital in Wauwatosa, Schmidt said.

The new medical facility also will allow tubal ligations and vasectomies, Schmidt said. The issue of tubal ligations and vasectomies became contentious earlier this year, after Ascension announced it would no longer offer the services on religious grounds. While St. Catherine’s Medical facility follows the religious and ethical directives of the Catholic Church and doesn’t do tubal ligations or vasectomies, Froedtert South’s Kenosha Medical Center near downtown Kenosha does allow tubal ligations and vasectomies, as will the Racine Medical Center, Schmidt said.

About Froedtert

Froedtert South is part of the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin regional health network. It is comprised of two hospitals — Kenosha Medical Center, 6308 8th Ave., Kenosha; and St. Catherine’s Medical Center, 9555 76th St., Pleasant Prairie — that used to be known collectively as the United Hospital System.

Froedtert South includes seven medical office buildings spread throughout Kenosha County, including a new clinic building on Highway 31 in Somers. Froedtert does not currently have a medical facility in Racine County.

Schmidt said having the new Mount Pleasant medical facility so close to the other two Kenosha County hospitals will allow it to provide more specialty services to the community because a doctor could work at multiple campuses as needed since they will be about a 20-minute drive apart. In addition to improving the quality of services, Schmidt said, it could decrease costs by having a lower unit price for procedures.

When asked if he was worried about hiring enough staff for the new facility, which is so close to the new Aurora and Ascension facilities, Schmidt said getting enough health care workers is a concern throughout the country. But he said Froedtert is working with various nursing schools to develop nurses, to train them and recruit them to the area.

In response to Froedtert news, Victoria Schmidt, a spokeswoman for Ascension, said: “Our focus is on expanding access to care in the communities we are privileged to serve, based on where there are unmet needs and where communities are growing … our new medical center in Mount Pleasant we announced in August is an example of our strategy to provide care close to home, at the right place and the right time.”

Expanding services

Mount Pleasant Village President Dave DeGroot, in response to the Froedtert announcement, said: “We are being recognized as a community that is on the upswing, where medical services will have to expand with the community.”

Planning for the new Froedtert South medical center was in the works for months, DeGroot said, but he was not at liberty to talk about the project until after the hospital made its announcement.

The project is to go to the Mount Pleasant Plan Commission on Oct. 17 for an initial review. While Aurora publicly announced its plans for a hospital before Froedtert, Aurora has yet to submit its conceptual site plan to the village.

If the village approves plans, Schmidt said he expects Froedtert would close on the property in December, then start finalizing plans with architects.

“The Racine area is exploding. I think it’s an exciting time for health care and all businesses.” Ric Schmidt, Froedtert South president and CEO

Christina Lieffring contributed to this report.

“The Racine area is exploding. I think it’s an exciting time for health care and all businesses."

Ric Schmidt, Froedtert South president and CEO


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