Advertisement

Judge grants ThedaCare temporary injunction in stroke team case

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 4:35 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 22, 2022 at 1:18 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - UPDATE 1/22

A judge has granted ThedaCare a temporary restraining order in a dispute with Ascension Wisconsin.

Thursday morning, ThedaCare filed for a temporary injunction against Ascension Wisconsin, saying it could cause the community harm by recruiting a majority of ThedaCare’s comprehensive stroke care team.

On Friday, an Outagamie County judge ruled in favor of ThedaCare and issued this order:

“Make available to ThedaCare one invasive radiology technician and one registered nurse of the individuals resigning their employment with ThedaCare to join Ascension, with their support to include on-call responsibilities or;

“Cease the hiring of the individuals referenced until ThedaCare has hired adequate staff to replace the departing IRC team members.”

ThedaCare operates the only Level II trauma and comprehensive stroke care unit in the Fox Valley. It says losing these workers could impact its ability to have people on call 24/7, which is necessary for accreditation.

Action 2 News spoke to one of the workers leaving. They told us there was no recruiting. Rather, one member of the team applied for a job with Ascension Wisconsin and received a much better offer than expected, which led others on the team to apply.

INITIAL REPORT

A dispute over workers between two Fox Valley health care providers is now before an Outagamie County judge.

Thursday morning, ThedaCare filed for a temporary injunction against Ascension Wisconsin, saying it could cause the community harm by recruiting a majority of its comprehensive stroke care team.

We’re told seven of the 11 members of that team accepted positions with Ascension Wisconsin to work at St. Elizabeth Hospital. That transition would begin Friday, January 21.

ThedaCare operates the only Level II trauma and comprehensive stroke care unit in the Fox Valley. It says losing these workers could impact its ability to have people on call 24/7, which is necessary for accreditation.

“The facility in Appleton at St. Elizabeth is a primary stroke center so that is one designation below. So stroke victims may have to be diverted to Green Bay or potentially as far as Madison or Milwaukee,” said Lynn Detterman, a senior vice president at ThedaCare.

The court action seeks to partner with Ascension Wisconsin for 90 days, giving ThedaCare enough time to fill those lost positions.

Detterman added, “Where the issue is is the group recruitment, and it will be in our court filing with our examples for that, but it just really in the spirit of our community is harmed by this potentially so we just want to work collectively to ensure that does not happen.”

Action 2 News spoke to one of the workers leaving. They told us there was no recruiting. Rather, one member of the team applied for a job with Ascension Wisconsin and received a much better offer than expected, which led others on the team to apply.

A spokesperson for Ascension Wisconsin released this statement Thursday night:

“Workforce shortages are one of the many stresses healthcare systems have faced during this pandemic. Many healthcare systems, including Ascension Wisconsin, continue to actively recruit healthcare workers. Contrary to the allegations in the ThedaCare lawsuit, Ascension Wisconsin did not initiate the recruitment of the ThedaCare employees. Rather, the employees applied for open job postings. To the extent such individuals met the job qualifications, Ascension Wisconsin made offers of employment to the individuals who applied as a part of Ascension Wisconsin’s routine process of hiring qualified associates at a fair and just wage. It is Ascension Wisconsin’s understanding that ThedaCare had an opportunity but declined to make competitive counter offers to retain its former employees.

Given the unfortunate decision by ThedaCare to file a lawsuit to enjoin competitive labor practices, we will not be commenting further as this matter proceeds through litigation.”

Copyright 2022 WBAY. All rights reserved.