Armstrong Disappointed by Marshfield’s Decision to Suspend

Birth Services in Rice Lake 

MADISON, WI – Marshfield Clinic Health System has “temporarily paused” labor and delivery services at its Rice Lake medical center, effective May 1.  Marshfield expects this pause to last 30 to 60 days.

“Following Mayo’s decision to withdraw birth services from Barron County in 2022, this new decision by Marshfield to suspend birth services in Rice Lake puts area families in an even more difficult situation,” said State Rep. Dave Armstrong (R-Rice Lake).  “Expectant mothers will now have to travel to Eau Claire to have their babies.”

Representative Armstrong recognizes the challenges that Marshfield, like Mayo, has in recruiting and retaining OB-GYNs and other professionals in rural areas of Wisconsin, but decisions like this can lead to a vicious cycle and do further harm to these communities.

“While I sincerely hope Marshfield will stand by its plan to resume its Rice Lake birth operations in a month or two, my fear is that birth services will never return, at least to the same level as before,” Representative Armstrong said.  “Even a temporary suspension sends a bad sign not just to families already living in Barron County, but to prospective residents and businesses.  If people think twice about moving to rural areas with unreliable access to essential health services, that in turn hurts the recruitment and retention of health professionals.

“However, I stand ready as both Barron County’s state representative and its economic development director to work with Marshfield to address the underlying issues that have led to this troubling decision so that it can resume operations and serve Barron County for years to come.”