Fairview finally announces what every local health care economist knew was inevitable

A hospital/university system merger designed to fail.

Fairview Health announced a dramatic downsizing of hospital and clinic operations on Monday to stem financial losses, including the shutdown of the 90-bed Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul that had been converted in March to treat COVID-19 patients.

St. Joseph’s Hospital will become Fairview’s new flagship for COVID-19 care but will cease being a general hospital, as its emergency room will close by year’s end and specialties such as neurology and bariatrics will be relocated. Inpatient mental health care will continue at the downtown St. Paul hospital at least through 2021.

Sixteen clinics in Minnesota and western Wisconsin will close, and 900 jobs will be eliminated as Fairview Health braces for a $250 million operating loss this year that was exacerbated by the pandemic.

Michael L. Douglas @doctorpundit

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