ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - M Health Fairview announced Monday it will cut 900 jobs as it coverts Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota into a shelter for people experiencing homelessness and transfer the patients in the hospital’s COVID-19 unit to the nearby St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Bethesda Hospital will be leased by Ramsey County to be used as a shelter this winter for people experiencing homelessness, pending Ramsey County Board approval. The board is expected to address the lease agreement for the hospital at its next meeting.
Earlier this year, Bethesda Hospital was converted into a dedicated COVID-19 facility. Fairview says Bethesda’s COVID-19 patients will be transferred to a centralized COVID-19 unit in St. Joseph’s by the end of 2020.
Fairview says COVID-19 care at St. Joseph’s will continue through at least 2021, with Southdale Hospital in Edina serving as a backup should the state see a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Fairview’s COVID-19 capacity for ICU and non-ICU hospitalizations will remain unchanged, despite the changes.
St. Joseph’s is also undergoing its own changes. Fairview says the “current care model at St. Joseph’s Hospital is not meeting the direct health needs of the surrounding communities” and the model is no longer financial sustainable. Fairview says it already lost $163 million overall in the first six months of this year, in part due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fairview says it is working with the community and its partners to reimagine St. Joseph’s as a “community hub of health and wellness.” However, as part of this transformation, most existing hospital services at St. Joseph’s, such as cardiology and neurology, will move to other hospital locations by the end of the year and the emergency room will discontinue services.
In addition to continuing to provide COVID-19 care through the next year, Fairview says the existing inpatient mental health beds will remain at St. Joseph’s through 2021.
Fairview says it is working with the community and its partners to co.
The changes require Fairview to eliminate 900 positions across its system—less than 3% of its total workforce. Fairview says it will help transition people whose jobs are being cut to open roles within the Fairview Health system.