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Ascension denies rumors that physicians are leaving en masse

By Brandi Makuski

Rumors floating around social media implying that physicians at Ascension St. Michael’s Hospital are leaving in large groups are just that—rumors, according to a hospital spokesman.

The post was made on April 7, kicking off a lot of conversation. (facebook.com)

Word began to spread on Facebook that as many as 30 providers were leaving St. Michael’s Hospital, ostensibly based on the claims of a single post. The public relations manager for the hospital said that’s untrue.

“The comment you reference claiming 30 physicians are leaving is false,” said spokesman Tom Weaver when asked about the post. “We do have some clinicians leaving, we also have some that are joining our organization. This is not uncommon in an organization our size.”

Weaver said when physicians leave the hospital, relaying the news to patients is typically a three-month process. Doctors may inform their patients directly, he said, but the hospital staff also notifies recent patients by phone. The last step in notification, he said, is sending a letter in the U.S. Mail.

In March, an employee at a Stevens Point call center for the hospital said the staff was warned against discussing the topic with patients calling to make appointments.

“Please refrain from answering any questions related to reasons behind provider changes,” an email to call center employees read.

The employee requested anonymity but added following that email, they no longer feel their job is secure.

Weaver said it is Ascension’s policy to not discuss personnel issues, adding, “we do make an exception in cases where knowingly false information is being circulated.”

“We have doctors coming and going all the time,” Weaver said.

The Ascension name and logo came to St. Michael’s Hospital after the system took over Ministry hospital facilities in 2017. A round of layoffs at Ascension facilities in the Milwaukee area was announced last month.