M Health Fairview closes 137-year-old St. Paul hospital, to become homeless shelter

Minneapolis-based M Health Fairview has officially closed the 137-year-old Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, Minn.

The hospital will be converted into a homeless shelter in December.

The long-term care hospital was converted into a COVID-19 facility for M Heath Fairview in March. But the health system moved the last patient Nov. 5 from its 90-bed COVID unit to St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul and shut the facility Nov. 13, according to M Health Fairview spokesperson Aimee Jordan. 

Across the health system, about 225 nursing positions have been eliminated. 

Ms. Jordan confirmed to Becker's Hospital Review that affected nurses can apply for any of the 500 open nursing positions in the health system.

"We are committed to keeping all of our nurses in our system," Ms. Jordan said.

M Health Fairview announced plans to downsize its hospital operations and reduce its workforce in October. The system said the changes were necessary because it is bracing for a $250 million operating loss this year, exacerbated by the pandemic. 

In addition to closing Bethesda Hospital, the system plans to close 16 of its 56 clinics in Minnesota and Wisconsin and stop offering some services at St. Joseph's Hospital by the end of the year, including emergency department services.

Ms. Jordan added that its COVID-19 unit, including staff, has been transferred to St. Joseph's Hospital, where it will remain until it is no longer needed in the community. St. Joseph's Hospital has more capacity to care for COVID-19 patients than Bethesda Hospital, Ms. Jordan said. 

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