Reimagined St. Joseph’s Hospital will become community and equity-focused health campus

Our vision for St. Joseph’s Hospital involves creating a health and wellness campus focused on three areas: health, housing, and supportive services.

A once-in-a-generation opportunity.

That’s how we view the chance to reimagine the services we provide at St. Joseph’s Hospital in downtown St. Paul.

St. Joseph’s is the smallest of four acute care hospitals and emergency departments located within a few blocks from each other downtown. Currently, 55 percent of all St. Joseph’s patients come from outside the city of Saint Paul and 72 percent of total emergency department visits were considered potentially preventable with proper primary care, which is one of the highest rates in the state. Acute services and traditional emergency room care can be expensive and may only address short-term healthcare needs without providing a long-term solution for patients.

Based on more than 300 community conversations over the last year, it became clear that the current care model at St. Joseph’s Hospital is not meeting the direct health needs of the surrounding communities. Nor is that model financially sustainable for our healthcare system.

We believe we can do better for the people in our community. That’s why – as part of our commitment and vision to provide affordable, accessible, and equitable care – the hospital will be reimagined as a community hub for health and wellness. Together with partners, we hope to co-design a campus that addresses the social risk factors of health, focused on three areas: health, housing, and supportive services.

As a result of this transformation, most existing hospital services at St. Joseph’s will move to other hospital locations in our system by the end of the year, and the emergency room will discontinue services. Our inpatient mental health unit will remain on site to help address mental health needs. We have asked the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, the group that first founded St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1853, to join us in this visioning process. We hope that the reimagined St. Joseph’s site will include a hub for St. Mary’s Health Clinics, among other innovative approaches, in the future as part of our continued partnership.

Finally, our system’s COVID-19 care center will relocate by the end of the year from Bethesda Hospital to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where it will remain as long as community need requires.

“We are resolute in our commitment to the community. We are actively seeking to design this new hub of health and wellness with the community, government partners, and others who have dedicated themselves to service within this community,” said Fairview President and CEO James Hereford. “As this vision continues to develop, we are preparing for seamless movement of some of our services from St. Joseph’s to our other hospitals across the East Metro with minimal impact to the patients that depend on us.”

“This unique site in the center of downtown St. Paul represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the health outcomes of the surrounding communities, to attack health and racial inequities, and to focus on improving health rather than treating sickness,” said Hereford. “To achieve this vision, we must collectively reimagine our footprint in St. Paul to best meet the needs of the community.”