Vice president of medical affairs Dr. Michael Schaars addresses those taking part in the groundbreaking ceremony of Marshfield Clinic’s phase two expansion project on Thursday, May 19, in Minocqua.
Vice president of medical affairs Dr. Michael Schaars addresses those taking part in the groundbreaking ceremony of Marshfield Clinic’s phase two expansion project on Thursday, May 19, in Minocqua.
Marshfield Clinic’s medical center of Minocqua held a groundbreaking ceremony on May 19 to signify the beginning of their 45,000 square-foot expansion project — the second phase of its original build. 
According to the medical center's chief administrative officer, Ty Erickson, the completion of the second phase is targeted to be done in just one year. 
“So we’re here today to build phase two and to fulfill our commitment and promise to our community members and our visitors,” vice president of medical affairs Dr. Michael Schaars said in his formal address. “Since we opened in 2020, nearly two years ago, we should be proud of our accomplishments.” 
More than 2,000 patients have been treated and discharged since that initial opening, he said, and 7,500 surgeries have been conducted. Marshfield’s medical center in Minocqua has delivered more than 450 babies, too, he added. 
There was pressure to expand, Schaars said, and it stemmed from the high patient demand. 
“Majority of days, we’re at 13 or 14 patients, and that was worse during COVID,” he said to members of the press. “There were a lot of times where we would end up having to board patients in the emergency department, or we would have to board patients in the post-operative areas because we didn’t have any physical beds upstairs to move them into.”
Employment was another aspect needing consideration in expanding and Schaars admitted it will be tough.
“In today’s environment it is going to be a challenge,” he said. “Like every place else, whether you’re in healthcare or own a restaurant, getting staff is going to be a challenge.”
Schaars did acknowledge, however, they are fortunate because the center has been able to obtain some staff through private agencies and different state programs. 
Two nursing schools the center works with were mentioned as well.
“We have worked with two nursing schools, Nicolet and Rasmussen out of Wausau,” Schaars said. “So they have student nurses rotating through here all the time … and so that allows us to have the nursing students here on campus … they get part of their education, their clinical rotations and so forth, but it is also a pipeline for future employment, too.”
When asked if he and other staff members are relieved the project is now underway, Schaars said not yet. 
“I’ll be relieved when it’s opened and operational,” he said. 
Trevor Greene may be reached via email at trevorgreene@lakelandtimes.com.