FRIDAY 1/28/2022 5:32 p.m.

(WFRV) – Thedacare has dropped its lawsuit against Ascension Wisconsin, according to a new statement from ThedaCare President and CEO, Imran A. Andrabi.

According to the statement, on Friday, Jan. 28, ThedaCare dismissed all legal action against Ascension Wisconsin, filed in Outagamie County Court.

The now-dismissed lawsuit had claimed Ascension had recruited ThedaCare team members at the same time compromising ThedaCare’s ability to provide trauma care.

This prompted ThedaCare to file a temporary injunction that sought for the court to grant the hospital time to replace most of its 11-member interventional radiology and cardiovascular team of nurses and technicians that had accepted jobs at Ascension.

However, on Monday, Jan. 24, an Outagamie County judge ruled in favor of Ascension allowing seven former ThedaCare employees to begin in their new roles at Ascension Wisconsin effective immediately.

Now, four days after that loss in court, President of ThedaCare, Imran Andrabi, announced in the following statement that the hospital is not only welcoming new “agency nurses and technologists [and] cross-training staff from across the systembut also dropping its lawsuit against Ascension.

The statement read:

…We regret the seven team members who accepted positions outside of ThedaCare were impacted by this situation, and we have made efforts to ensure that the risk to them was minimized for the day between employment. We know the work of interventional radiology and cardiovascular nurses and technologists saves lives, and we wish them well in their new roles.

We are grateful for each and every team member at ThedaCare. It is through their work, expertise and compassion that we live our mission, and we are committed to listening and learning from this situation. Our appreciation knows no bounds for our team members’ unwavering commitment to our patients and each other.

As a not-for-profit health care system, our mission is to improve the health and well-being of the 650,000 people in our communities. We are steadfast in our promise to those who entrust us with their care, as we have for more than 112 years.

Our intention always was, and is, to protect access to quality care. So, when minutes matter most, we are there for our patients to provide the highest level of critical care services as the region’s only Level II Trauma Center and certified Comprehensive Stroke Center. We have never diverted a trauma patient in the 32-year history of our Trauma program, and have been able to safely provide the critical care our communities depend upon.

We have worked diligently to ensure safe, quality, continued access to the high-level services our communities rely on in the most serious, life-threatening situations. These steps include onboarding new team members, welcoming agency nurses and technologists, cross training staff from across the system, further partnering with other area health systems who offer these services, and more.

Again, we want to express our gratitude for each and every team member who is committed to putting patients and families first. We thank them for their efforts, talent and sacrifice to those who count on us to improve their health and well-being.

ThedaCare President and CEO Imran A. Andrabi, MD, FAAFP

UPDATE: Judge sides with Ascension, employees can begin work immediately

MONDAY 1/24/2022 2:58 p.m.

(WFRV) – After several hours of discussion and testimony, an Outagamie County judge has ruled in favor of Ascension and those looking to work there.

The seven employees who were part of the Interventional Radiologist Team at ThedaCare resigned and can now immediately start working at Ascension. During their testimony, several of the employees said they resigned because they felt like they were being underpaid and a circumstance around a former coworker who had been let go.

In court, Ascension also said that they did not actively recruit the former ThedaCare employees but the jobs were simply open. However, those with ThedaCare said that losing the employees all at once will make it difficult to provide trauma care for the community.

“We don’t live in Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles where there is a much larger talent pool. There are limited resources and if we lose people we’re not going to be able to perform these life-saving procedures, it’s going to have a profound effect on the community,” said Dr. Raymon Georgen, ThedaCare Trauma Care Doctor.

ThedaCare is a level two trauma center, the next closest level two trauma center is in Green Bay.

Ascension issued a statement regarding the judge’s decision saying;

“We are pleased with the court’s decision to dismiss the temporary restraining order preventing seven individuals from beginning employment with Ascension Wisconsin. We welcome our newest associates. We will continue to support our healthcare workers and staff and we thank them for their tireless dedication to providing high quality, compassionate care to our communities.”

Ascension Wisconsin

ThedaCare’s Lynn Detterman, President of ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah and Senior Vice President of the ThedaCare South Region has also issued a statement saying;

“The issue has always been about protecting our community’s access to the highest level of Trauma and Stroke Care provided in the Fox Valley region at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah. We made significant efforts to try to work with Ascension Wisconsin to resolve the situation in a way that protects the community’s access to this critical care and honors the decision of the team members who decided to leave our organization.

ThedaCare’s commitment to providing patients access to exceptional, high-quality care is unwavering. We know this situation has put the team members who decided to leave ThedaCare in the middle of a difficult situation. Our goal was always to create a short-term orderly transition, not to force team members to continue working at ThedaCare.

As we have been, we will continue working night and day to ensure ongoing access in the short-term and have secured coverage in these areas. We will also continue the significant, robust work that is underway to secure a long-term solution and continued community access for these critical care services so people can get the care they need in their community when minutes count.”

UPDATE: Judge hears from ThedaCare employees during injunction hearing

MONDAY 1/24/2022 1:35 p.m.

(WFRV) – An Outagamie County judge is hearing both sides after a lawsuit was filed by ThedaCare against Ascension after a team of 11 said they were leaving ThedaCare for Ascension.

The hearing started early Monday morning and at this time the employees in question are testifying saying they weren’t recruited by Ascension but Thedacare simply didn’t match their counteroffers. ThedaCare argued that losing all the employees at the same time will compromise their ability to provide trauma care.

Local 5’s Paul Steeno will have the latest on the injunction tonight on Local 5 News at 4 p.m.

Original Story: ThedaCare files lawsuit to keep employees from leaving for Ascension

FRIDAY 1/21/2022 6:14 a.m.

NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) – ThedaCare is trying to get a court order to temporarily keep some of its employees from leaving to Ascension, after Ascension hired a ‘majority’ of its 11-member interventional radiology and cardiovascular team.

ThedaCare announced that they have filed for a temporary injunction in Outagamie County Circuit Court against Ascension Wisconsin. They are asking the Court to provide time for ThedaCare to replace most of its 11-member interventional radiology and cardiovascular team of nurses and technicians. ThedaCare says they were recruited by and have accepted jobs at Ascension Northeast Wisconsin.

“We understand and respect that people have choices in the current highly competitive job market. The decision by Ascension Wisconsin to hire away such a significant portion of ThedaCare’s interventional radiology specialty support team all at once, and at the height of a pandemic surge, will disrupt access to critical care for the people in our region. While we have tried to work with Ascension Wisconsin for additional time to execute a plan for staffing coverage that will provide the longterm continuation of services that support trauma, stroke and other essential areas of care, Ascension Wisconsin was unwilling to collaborate with us. We are essentially asking the Court to grant the injunction to maintain the status quo until ThedaCare can hire replacement staff for this vital department in order to protect access to the critical care services supported by the team, which are considered community assets.”

Imran Andrabi, MD, ThedaCare President and CEO.

ThedaCare also says that the staff that was hired away by Ascension Wisconsin ‘play a vital role’ in ThedaCare’s Comprehensive Stroke Center. They also say they may not be able to staff 24/7 interventional care.

Ascension sent out a statement saying that they did not initiate the recruitment of the ThedaCare employees. It was also mentioned that ThedaCare reportedly had an opportunity to make counteroffers to retain its former employees but decline.

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.

Ascension Wisconsin spokesperson

ThedaCare did not mention in their release if they made counteroffers. ThedaCare did say that the action taken by Ascension Wisconsin puts at risk the communities and patients served by ThedaCare’s critical care services.

Local 5 will update this story as more information is released.