Health and Science
Fri March 1, 2013
Prairie Du Chien To Get New Hospital In 2014
Residents in rural southwest Wisconsin will be getting a new hospital by the end of next year in Prairie du Chien.
At Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital, people often enter the emergency room through the steep ambulance entrance. The medical helicopter has to land in a church parking lot across the street.
At its new facility, patients will be able to easily navigate the halls and will have more privacy. Physicians and nurses will also have more space for evolving health care technology.
Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital CEO Bill Sexton says the new facility will enhance access to rural health care and cut back on the need to drive to cities, like La Crosse, for treatment.
“If you can receive it locally, why would you travel to get health care elsewhere? And then if you’re hospitalized someplace else, not only are you in a distant location, but your family and friends have to visit you in that distant location.“
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved a $32 million loan for the project, the largest awarded in Wisconsin under its community facilities program. USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager says the department has financed up to 200 rural medical facilities in the last year.
“We’re talking about how much health care has improved in the last 20 or 30 years. Life expectancies during when Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare Act were about 62 or 63 years. Now, it’s about in the 80 year range. Well, if we keep working at this, the ability for people to live longer, healthily, [and] productively is going to dramatically improve.”
Tonsager says Prairie du Chien’s new hospital could also help smaller medical facilities that are increasingly relying on telemedicine.