MNA and SEIU Alarmed by Shortsighted Hospital Cuts to Bethesda and St. Joe’s

MNA and SEIU Alarmed by Shortsighted Hospital Cuts to Bethesda and St. Joe’s

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Rick Fuentes
(o) 651-414-2863
(c) 612-741-0662
rick.fuentes@mnnurses.org

Amber Smigiel
(o) 651-414-2849
(c) 651-202-0845
amber.smigiel@mnnurses.org

October 5, 2020 (St. Paul) – As COVID infections are on the rise, MHealth Fairview is closing the one COVID specialty hospital in the area as well as critically necessary community clinics and other services at St. Joseph’s hospital.  Shutting down clinics and restricting services does not improve access to healthcare. This is the epitome of healthcare injustice for both the community and the MHealth Fairview workforce.

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.

1 Comment

  1. I received the entire Fairview email — the “letter” from CEO James Hereford. I was shocked and outraged. I felt like I had just been punched in the stomach. Bethesda and Saint Joseph’s hospitals serve a vital function in our community, provide good jobs for many, and world-class healthcare to all who seek it. “Re-purposing” them into institutions for which they were not designed makes no sense. I speak as a former volunteer and patient when I say that these hospitals are — and should continue to be — a great place to work and a great place to get well, and the community should not be deprived of them. Both also have historical significance, not only to St. Paul but to the state of Minnesota.

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