Arizona hospital closure will result in 655 layoffs

Dallas-based Steward Health Care will close St. Luke's Medical Center in Phoenix on Nov. 24. When the hospital closes, 655 employees will lose their jobs, according to the Phoenix Business Journal, which cited a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice.

The hospital, which opened more than 100 years ago, is closing due to dwindling patient volumes, St. Luke's Medical Center President James Flinn wrote in a letter to the local community last month.

"On any given day, St. Luke’s has 70 patients in the hospital out of a total capacity of 219," Mr. Flinn wrote. "To put it another way, each night, two out of three hospital beds are empty at St. Luke's. Over the past two years, St. Luke’s occupancy rate has remained below 40 percent, and emergency department visits have decreased by 16 percent."

St. Luke's will shut down its emergency room Nov. 23 and transfer any remaining patients to two other hospitals owned by Steward — Tempe (Ariz.) St. Luke's Hospital and Mountain Vista Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz. Some employees affected by the closure may be transferred as well. 

"We are looking for every opportunity to transfer St. Luke's employees to equivalent positions at one of our sister facilities in the region — Tempe St. Luke's, Mountain Vista Medical Center, and the newly reopened Florence Hospital," a spokesperson for Steward told Becker's Hospital Review

Brokers are looking for new tenants to occupy the nine-story building that houses St. Luke's. Brokers told the Phoenix Business Journal that the facility could be renovated into apartments or senior living housing.

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