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July 28, 2021

Saint Vincent Hospital cuts back services, blames striking nurses

Photo | Grant Welker Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester

Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester announced on Wednesday it would be scaling back certain services effective Monday, blaming the ongoing nursing strike over staffing levels.

The planned changes include a reduction of 80 staffed inpatient beds, eight procedural rooms and closing certain outpatient services, including cardiac rehab and wound care.

Inpatient bed cuts will include two medical/surgical units, one progressive care unit and 10 inpatient psychiatry beds, according to a Wednesday morning announcement.

At the same time, the hospital said it would be postponing a variety of projects, including adding a linear accelerator, advancing gastro-intestinal capabilities, upgrading PET/CT technology and expansion of behavioral health staffing. In June, the hospital announced it would also delay updating its medical records system until early 2022.

“Scaling back services is something Saint Vincent Hospital had hoped it would not need to do, and this decision was not an easy one,” the hospital said in its announcement, in an unattributed explanation for the changes. “By preserving core services now, Saint Vincent Hospital will be able to sustain operations and continue that commitment and performance.”

In announcing the cuts, the hospital’s communications team pointed out that the hospital received favorable rankings from the U.S. News & World Report only a day prior, including with regard to staffing, for which it received the highest mark available.

The hospital said it hopes to resume the scaled back services once the strike, which has now hit 20 weeks, comes to an end.

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