Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, Wis.  – HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals are excited to receive $15 million in state funding as part of Governor Tony Evers’ biannual state budget, announced Thursday, July 8. The funding will allow our hospitals to expand capacity by adding 22 new psychiatric beds.

The additional beds will enhance the existing units, creating a 33-bed adult unit at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire and a dedicated 18-bed adolescent unit at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls.

“We have been committed to serving the behavioral health needs of our communities for 60 years,” said Andy Bagnall, HSHS Wisconsin President and CEO. “This expansion directly aligns with our mission and allows our inpatient services to meet a significant community need.”

HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals’ Executive Director of Behavioral Health, Toni Simonson said securing this grant to expand the hospitals’ emergency mental health services is crucial.

“I am so thrilled and appreciative of this funding,” says Simonson. “This is going to help us serve more community members during a time when mental health needs are rising at an exceptional rate.”

Currently many patients in need of emergency mental health services must be transferred to facilities far outside the Chippewa Valley. This puts a strain not only on patients, but also law enforcement agencies that make those transfers. Simonson says expanding local access to care keeps patients in closer proximity to family support networks and therefore enhances patient recovery.

The initiative to add mental health beds began in 2019 with Senator Kathy Bernier as the lead advocate for additional resources. With help from Representative Jesse James, the legislators worked closely with HSHS leadership to develop a facilities and funding strategic plan.

“Just last week we announced a growth initiative regarding adding beds to the HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital rehabilitation department,” said Bagnall. “Now we are growing our ability to provide emergency mental health services. It will be rewarding to see the positive impact these additions will have for our patients. 

Renovations to add mental health beds at HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals will begin in the near future.




About HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital
HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1889, it has been meeting patient needs in western Wisconsin with the latest medical innovations and technology, together with a Franciscan whole-person healing tradition.

About HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1885, it has served the people of the Chippewa Falls area with health care that is high tech and high touch. Known locally for the quality of the care it provides patients, the hospital has been recognized nationally for its outstanding patient satisfaction levels. 

About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality, Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our physician practices and 15 local hospitals in two states - Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan, and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries,  and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit www.hospitalsisters.org.

Media Contact

Karen Kraus

Communications Department
HSHS Wisconsin
Office: (715) 717-4591
Cell: (715) 717-4747

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