Community Impact - St. Joseph Hospital - Ascension Wisconsin

Skip to Content

St. Joseph Campus Community Impact Stories

Wheaton Franciscan - St. Joseph Campus continuously meets the needs of the communities it serves.

Tiny Baby Celebrates Big Birthday

Shaina Freeman experienced a life-threatening condition 23 weeks into her pregnancy that required her to deliver early. Her daughter, Phoenix, is the smallest baby ever born to survive at St. Joseph Campus.

Physicians and nurses were excited to reunite with Phoenix in 2014 to celebrate her achievements and first birthday.

From preconception through birth, St. Joseph is equipped to handle risks and complications that can happen due to underlying medical conditions and health histories. If you have a pre-existing or life-threatening condition caused by pregnancy or are over 35, there's no safer place to have your baby.

Learn more about our exceptional pregnancy and birthing care.

Beyond the Call of Duty

Olga Torres was extremely anemic and suffering from severe abdominal pain when she was admitted to the Emergency Department at St. Joseph Campus. Tests soon revealed that she had stage four colon cancer.

The 59-year-old underwent bypass surgery to remove a portion of her small intestine and colon. Faced with the daunting task of fighting cancer, Olga also carried the burden of paying for her medical care.
“My parents are very poor,” said daughter Melissa Torres. “The financial counselors at St. Joseph went over and above the call of duty to get my Mom the help she needed to cover her hospital stay and cancer medications.”

Olga applied for and received Community Care to cover 100 percent of her costs. Community Care is Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare’s program providing free or discounted care to those in need. The financial counselors also determined that she qualified for BadgerCare, which would cover her future medical needs.

Melissa is thankful for the “amazing work done by the Wheaton financial counselors on my mother’s behalf.” “It’s reassuring to know there are people and programs out there for those who really need the help,” she said.

In 2009, Wheaton in Southeast Wisconsin provided approximately $21.6 million in free or discounted health services to those who cannot afford to pay and who meet all criteria for financial assistance. Charity Care is based on actual costs, not charges, and does not include bad debt.

Learn more about the Community Care program.

Combating Infant Mortality

Infant mortality remains a major concern in Milwaukee. While the national average is 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births, Milwaukee’s rate is 9.8. For African Americans in Milwaukee, the rate is 14.1 per 1,000 live births. Although the new data for both citywide and African American populations showed reductions in infant mortality, there is still much work to be done.

Much of that work is being done at St. Joseph Campus, which sponsors the Baby Safe Sleep program. Funded entirely by the St. Joseph Foundation, the program addresses one of the key causes of infant mortality – unsafe sleep environments. Under the program, St. Joseph provides education to new parents about the importance of a dedicated sleep space for their baby.

Free Pack-n-Play playpens and Halo sleepers are also provided to babies born to low-income mothers at St. Joseph. The playpens create a safe, convenient sleep environment and the zip-up sleepers eliminate the need for additional blankets which sometimes create a breathing hazard and have been implicated in SIDS. So far, we’ve given over 600 Pack-n-Plays to new moms.

Who Do I Call? Where Do I Go?

Alison Krings was pregnant with her first child. She had been diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancy and put on bed rest. Then, at seven-and-a-half months, she lost her job and her health insurance. Worse yet, she lost her doctor. Her regular obstetrician did not accept Medicaid patients

“All I could think was, ‘I’ve never done this before. Who do I call, where do I go, what do I do?’” recalls Alison.

Fortunately, in addition to her regular obstetrician, Alison had also been seeing a high-risk pregnancy specialist at Wheaton. When she relayed her predicament to her high-risk physician, she immediately got Alison in touch with a financial counselor at our Women’s Outpatient Center.

Wheaton financial counselors are experts at helping individuals and families navigate and interpret the numerous coverage options available to them. In Alison’s case, she qualified for BadgerCare Plus, Wisconsin’s Title 19 program.

By the end of the day, Alison and her baby had coverage once again.

“To have insurance available to you and to have people supporting you through that time is unbelievable,” says Alison. “It makes you reassured to know there is someone out there helping you.”

Learn more about high-risk pregnancy services.