Fairview Health Services to cut 900 jobs, close Bethesda Hospital

It's also planning to reduce it services at St. Joseph's Hospital.
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Fairview Health Services has announced a series of cuts that will see 900 positions eliminated across its system, as well as the closure of Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul.

The healthcare provider says the job cuts represent almost 3% of its total workforce, though those affected will be encouraged to apply for one of its 1,200 open positions. 

Meanwhile, Fairview's 90-bed Bethesda Hospital, which it turned into a facility solely for COVID-19 patients in March, will be shut down and transferred to Ramsey County, which will use it as a winter shelter for the county's homeless population, pending board approval.

It comes after the company posted losses of $163 million for the first six months of 2020.

Services for COVID-19 patients at Bethesda will be transferred to St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul by the end of 2020, and COVID-19 care will continue there through 2021 or "as long as community need requires it."

But there are further changes coming to St. Joseph's too, with Fairview saying the hospital "in its current form does not appropriately meet the needs of the community," noting that 72% of its emergency patients could easily be handled in a primary care setting.

Fairview notes that St. Joseph's is an "acute care hospital that sits within blocks of three other acute care facilities and two other emergency departments," and as such it will be "reimagined as a community hub of health and wellness."

The company did say however that its inpatient mental health beds at St. Joseph's will remain through the end of 2021.

"Our health system is taking several important steps forward to realize our bold vision to bring breakthrough care to more people, and to address the financial challenges all healthcare systems, including ours, are facing,” said James Hereford, Fairview president and CEO. 

"The changes announced today are steps toward the transformation we need to meet the needs of our community now and into the future."

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