M Health Fairview employees, patients protest bed, staff cuts in Minnesota

Nurses, physicians and patients protested in St. Paul, Minn., Jan. 23 over planned bed and job cuts by Minneapolis-based M Health Fairview, local TV station WCCO reported.

M Health Fairview, a partnership of Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services, University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Physicians, announced in December that it intends to reduce capacity at Bethesda Hospital to 50 beds and reduce its workforce by about 340 employees.

The long-term acute care hospital in St. Paul has 89 staffed beds. The capacity reduction is expected to begin within the next few months.

M Health Fairview said it will reduce its workforce across the system by about 340 employees early this year, retraining and moving affected employees into open roles whenever possible.

Healthcare workers represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association were among those protesting the plans, citing concerns about how the cuts will affect patients, community members and employees.

The workers, along with faith leaders, patient groups and the Service Employees International Union, are part of the "No Cuts on Quality Care" coalition, which invited Fairview Health CEO James Hereford to a community forum Jan. 28 to discuss the cuts.

"The coalition wants to ensure you have a chance to hear from real community members and patients about the impact that cuts and closures will have on us all," the invitation reads.

M Health Fairview's planned cuts come as it is working to address an expected $80 million shortfall this year. 

The system has said it is considering reducing or ending services at some hospitals. But a Fairview Health spokesperson told WCCO that no decisions have been made in terms of potentially ending services at St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul.

"Nationwide, healthcare is facing an affordability crisis; for far too long the rising costs of healthcare have been passed on to patients and their families. Fairview is experiencing the effects of this nationwide trend and must make decisions to ensure we are well-positioned to provide quality care to our patients now and for the long term," Fairview Health told Becker's Hospital Review via an email statement.

"Instead of waiting for solutions, Fairview is choosing to engage our community and stakeholders to help shape the future of healthcare in our system," the statement adds. "We choose to transform, and this means we are rethinking everything we do. We are faced with difficult decisions, but we remain singularly focused on doing right by our patients and families we serve, by investing in innovation, reducing costs and leveraging our entire platform to deliver exceptional care. We appreciate the community sharing their thoughts about how we work together to create solutions."


More articles on workforce:
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Geisinger to open career center, seeks to fill about 2,000 job openings

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