Mental health group raises alarm over possible closure of St. Paul hospital

The advocacy group is opposing any attempts to shut down the hospital.

The possible closure of a hospital in St. Paul is being questioned by a national advocacy group for mental health.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) say it is "distressed" by reports that M Health Fairview could consider closing St. Joseph's Hospital.

"St. Joe’s is a vital component of Minnesota’s mental health system providing care to thousands of people struggling with mental illnesses and substance use disorders," NAMI said.

The future of St. Joseph's in downtown St. Paul, which is Minnesota's first hospital and dates back to 1853, is the subject of a meeting of M Health Fairview's 19-member board later this month.

The Pioneer Press reported earlier this week, the board operating the nonprofit is considering layoffs within its hospitals and clinics, and the potential closure of St. Joseph's within the next few years as part of a cost-cutting exercise that would allegedly see it shift focus to suburban medical facilities.

The potential closure sparked a social media campaign over the past week, using the hashtag #StJoesServesStPaul.

M Health Fairview told BMTN that no decisions were "being considered or have been made" regarding St. Joseph's at its Board of Directors meeting on Thursday.

"Like many healthcare systems across the country, Fairview is working to determine how we can deliver high-quality care more affordably for our patients," the statement added.

"We will work with our patients, our clinical leaders and the community to determine how we can best serve downtown St. Paul.

"During this time, one promise remains non-negotiable: we will continue to provide excellent care to those who need it. We are grateful to our physicians, providers, nurses and staff for the compassionate care they provide to our patients. We will continue to communicate important decisions to our employees, stakeholders and the public."

In its statement on Thursday, NAMI says the prospect of closing St. Joe's comes as the country's mental health system is struggling to cope with mental health crises and the ongoing drug epidemic.

"The boarding at emergency rooms and the transporting of people across the state in search of an open bed is well known," it says. "Closing beds – that are already in short supply – will exacerbate the problem."

NAMI is also questioning the possible closure by citing M Health Fairview's 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment, which identified mental health and well-being as it's number one priority.

"What has changed in eight months to basically reverse this decision and ignore their own findings?" said NAMI Minnesota’s executive director Sue Abderholden. 

"The answer is nothing. The needs have not decreased – they have increased."

BMTN has reached out to M Health Fairview for comment.

Next Up

Andrelton Simmons / Minnesota Twins

Twins sign Andrelton Simmons to one-year deal

The former Angels shortstop is a four-time Gold Glove winner.

covid, vaccine

Minnesotans eligible for COVID shots only need to pre-register once for vaccine lottery

This is good news for people worried that they'd need to sign up every week.

police lights

2 people charged in separate Minneapolis homicides that happened hours apart

A woman is accused of stabbing a man in the chest over $60, while a man is accused of accidentally shooting a victim on the man's birthday.

House for sale

Despite pandemic, Twin Cities housing market set records in 2020

Sales were up 7.7% in 2020 compared to the year before.

Target store inside

Target unveils 'limited-edition' home, lifestyle collection with Levi Strauss

The new collection will be available in some stores and everyone online Feb. 28.

Tim Walz

Walz's $52.4 billion budget increases school spending, raises taxes on wealthy

He says the budget will help level the playing field and ensure all Minnesotans have a fair shot at economic recovery,

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 12.55.00 PM

Pictures from Minnesota GOP's Deadwood retreat show no masks, no distancing

The pictures were shared in Chair Jennifer Carnahan's latest email newsletter.

Alexus Norberg

Search for girl, 14, missing from St. Cloud

The teen left her home without her parents' permission.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 26

The health departments provided new data daily at 11 a.m.


bethesda hospital

Fairview's hospital closures raise mental health concerns

Fairview Health Services' closure of two hospitals will mean fewer inpatient mental health beds in the area.

Kevin Nokels

Mystery over Duluth hospital CEO's sudden departure

Kevin Nokels stepped down this week, after less than 18 months in the role.

bethesda hospital

Fairview Health Services to cut 900 jobs, close Bethesda Hospital

It's also planning to reduce it services at St. Joseph's Hospital.

bethesda hospital

Coronavirus: Bethesda Hospital to become a COVID-19 care facility

The St. Paul hospital is being transformed to handle coronavirus patients.

Screen Shot 2019-03-12 at 8.27.30 PM

St. Paul's Forepaugh's restaurant announces sudden closure

The restaurant was hit by the devastating death of its executive chef last month.

Fairview Health Hiawatha

Fairview to close 16 clinics, 5 pharmacies as part of budget cuts

It comes as the healthcare provider prepares to cut 900 jobs and shut down Bethesda Hospital.

Screen Shot 2019-08-28 at 1.45.53 PM

Walmart to close its only store in St. Paul

The University Avenue location will shutter next month.