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A St. Paul, Minn., hospital that briefly housed coronavirus patients will become a homeless shelter with approval from the Ramsey County board of commissioners.
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The Minneapolis-based health care company M Health Fairview is facing a number of structural changes due to revenue losses tied to the COVID-19 crisis, including 900 expected layoffs and 16 clinic closures, according to a press release.
"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," Fairview President and CEO James Hereford told employees in a Monday statement.
Fairview lost $163 million in the first half of 2020, the release noted, and it expects to lose between $225 million and $250 million by the end of the year, according to The Bemidji Pioneer.
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Nearly three-fourths of emergency department visits were "potentially preventable" with appropriate primary care. Hereford told the Pioneer that in many cases, people suffering from homelessness visited the department just to escape the cold because they were unable to access shelter elsewhere.
COVID-19 patients are being transferred out of Bethesda Rehabilitation Hospital, which was transformed into a hospital exclusive to COVID-19 patients in March with 90 beds, to St. Joseph’s Hospital, according to the Pioneer.
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St. Joseph's is also undergoing structural changes of its own and plans to drop its oncology, cardiology and emergency departments. Most services leaving St. Joseph's will be transferred to Woodwinds Hospital in Woodbury or St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood, according to the Pioneer.
Fairview plans to lay off 900 people out of its 34,000-person workforce — a less-than 3 percent cut, but there are also 1,200 jobs currently available.
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"The changes announced today are steps toward the transformation we need to meet the needs of our community now and into the future," Hereford said. "While we must address our financial challenges, ultimately this is about ensuring our future as a thriving and innovative health system; one dedicated to helping and healing patients."
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