Contact: Rick Fuentes
MHealth Fairview has consistently attempted to hide their plans for healthcare in St. Paul and this is yet another example. Executives with little to no ties to the community and those who are the furthest away from actually providing direct care have continued to refuse transparency in their efforts to strip healthcare accessibility from our communities, including the closures of Bethesda and St. Joe’s. Community or worker input came only after a memo was leaked about their plans and was quickly shelved when the COVID crisis began. Now they are manipulating the tragedy of COVID as a cover to justify the elimination of vital healthcare services to the St. Paul community. SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley, who represents 200 healthcare staff between the two facilities, responded, “The damage that these moves will have to our community and state will be insurmountable. This move is incredibly shortsighted, and we know it will have long-lasting effects to both healthcare workers and patients. Our state cannot afford to have this plan move forward without a much deeper analysis on the impact to our community.”
MNA Executive Director Rose Roach also responded by saying, “It is unthinkable that an urban center like St. Paul stands to lose so many patient services at once. With the recent announcement by Children’s Hospitals, St. Paul families will lose operating rooms, pediatric ICUs, cardiac, epilepsy, chemical dependency, and diabetic services. The loss of resources will again force patients, especially among communities of color, to have to travel to healthcare, instead of finding it available to them. This is not health equity. This is tragic.”
Both SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and MNA are calling on Governor Walz and elected officials to put a freeze to the rapidly approaching closures until community members have a real chance to weigh in and an assessment of how this will impact St. Paul and the state is completed and shared with the community.