Fairview reduces workforce by 900

Photo by Jim Boyle

The Fairview Clinic in Elk River remains open and busy, but the Fairview Clinic in Zimmerman is one of 16 that has been or will be closed as the clinic and hospital operator reduces its workforce by 3%.

A Minneapolis health care system says the coronavirus pandemic has caused deep operating losses, forcing it to close 16 clinics in Minnesota and Wisconsin and reduce its workforce by 900 employees.

Among the clinic closures is the Fairview Clinic in Zimmerman. Eleven of the 16 clinics being closed had temporarily closed due to the pandemic. Zimmerman was one of them.

Fairview Clinics in Elk River and Rogers remain open.

Fairview is also closing its inpatient mental health unit at Southdale and is unlikely to maintain inpatient care at St. Joseph’s unless it can get a waiver to the federal “Institutions for Mental Diseases exclusion” against the warehousing of non-elderly adults in large psychiatric hospitals, said Sue Abderholden, executive director of NAMI Minnesota.

Fairview Health plans to shut down Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul that had been handling COVID-19 patients and transfer that care to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Inpatient mental health care will continue at the downtown St. Paul hospital at least through 2021.

St. Joseph’s Hospital will handle coronavirus patients, but will close its emergency room by year’s end and specialties such as neurology and bariatrics will be relocated, the Star Tribune reported.

Fairview had no room at Bethesda in May with 150 COVID-19 patients spread across its hospitals. But it says since then it has averaged fewer than 50 patients per day at Bethesda and around 70 systemwide.

Fairview says it’s bracing for a $250 million operating loss this year that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. The most recent financial records show Fairview posted an operating loss of about $66 million in its second financial quarter from April through June this year. Suspension of non-urgent surgeries dramatically reduced its revenue.

The job cuts amount to about 3% of the health care providers workforce.

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