Laura Jelle no longer is president of SSM Health St. Clare Hospital.
Administrators at the Baraboo health care center confirmed Wednesday that an “abrupt leadership transition” took place Friday. They declined to comment on what led to Jelle’s departure.
“The bottom line is she’s no longer here,” said St. Clare Hospital spokesperson Melanie Platt-Gibson. “It is not our policy to speak about personnel issues.”
Jelle served as St. Clare’s top administrator since July 2015, and worked in a variety of other leadership positions there starting in 1995. She did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
As president of St. Clare Hospital, Jelle was present for the opening of SSM Health’s Wisconsin Dells cardiac rehab center in March 2016, the rebranding of St. Clare Hospital with the SSM Health logo in August 2016, a $3.8 million expansion to the hospital’s radiation oncology department that opened in October 2016 and several other milestones.
Scott Wysocki will serve as interim president of St. Clare Hospital while SSM Health leaders search for Jelle’s replacement. Wysocki, who previously was St. Clare Hospital’s vice president of operations, said the interview process will include both internal and external candidates. He added that a timeline hasn’t yet been established.
“We will continue to plan strategically for additional services and contributions in health care in this community as we were during Laura’s tenure,” Wysocki said.
Wysocki served as St. Clare Hospital’s vice president since August 2015 and worked in a variety of other administrative roles there starting in 2006. Prior to working for St. Clare Hospital, he was an administrator at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He’s clinically trained as a physical therapist and has worked in healthcare since 1991.
Wysocki said Jelle’s departure will not affect services offered at St. Clare Hospital. He added that the scheduled June 15 closure of SSM Health’s Treatment and Recovery Center in Baraboo is an unrelated matter.
“That closing had nothing to do with the decisions made during the leadership transition,” Wysocki said. “We had very specific reasons for that closure, and a very difficult decision to make with it.”
The facility offered addiction treatment services for drug addiction since 1986. Hospital leaders announced last month that changing regulations at the state and federal level, coupled with qualified staff shortages and lack of reimbursement funding have put the rehab center on an unsustainable path.
Wysocki said the greatest challenges facing St. Clare Hospital continue to be changing state and federal regulations, securing reimbursement funding for services and maintaining qualified staff. He said the hospital will address those issues by offering competitive positions for qualified staff, developing current employees through its scholarship program and exploring other solutions to ensure its patients receive the highest standard of care.
“The providers in this organization from frontline staff to our physicians didn’t change on Friday, May 11,” Wysocki said. The ‘we’ that provides the care to this community — the high quality care, the number of outcomes and awards and patient satisfaction — hasn’t changed.”
— Editor's note: This article and headline were updated May 17 to clarify the circumstances surrounding Laura Jelle's departure.