Saint Luke’s Health System says it will close its two community hospitals in Overland Park at the end of the year. Both hospitals opened just a couple of years ago.
The health system said declining patient volumes were behind the decision.
“Overall, our community hospital model has performed remarkably well and has allowed us to effectively expand access in a critical segment of our market,” Bobby Olm-Shipman, CEO of Saint Luke’s South and East, said in a statement.
“However, two of our locations have seen lower patient volumes since opening, and as we look at ways to provide care while operating as efficiently as possible during this challenging time, we have made the decision to close these two locations.”
The two locations, at 75th Street and Metcalf Avenue and 159th Street and 69 Highway, will close on Dec. 30.
The health system’s five remaining community hospitals will continue to provide service. Those facilities are located in Leawood, Olathe, Roeland Park, Shawnee, and Kansas City, Kansas.
Saint Luke’s launched the first of its community hospitals in 2018, when it opened the facility at 132nd Street and State Line Road in Leawood. Like its other community hospitals, the Leawood facility offers inpatient and emergency services on a smaller scale than the health system’s major hospitals. The idea is to bring patient care closer to where people live.
The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has taken a toll on the small hospitals' finances. In July, Saint Luke’s announced it was closing Cushing Hospital in Leavenworth, Kansas, on Oct. 1, saying the pandemic had resulted in “significant financial strain.”
That occurred just months after Saint Luke’s converted Cushing from a traditional 74-bed hospital to one focused on emergency services. Cushing was founded in 1894. Saint Luke’s acquired it in 2007.
The Cushing announcement came shortly after Saint Luke’s announced a series of cost-saving measures system-wide, including streamlining care, eliminating nonessential expenditures and instituting a 90-day furlough for a “limited number” of employees.
According to the Kansas City Business Journal, Saint Luke’s reported $3.2 billion in revenue in 2018, the most recent year for which figures are available.
It’s the third largest private employer based in Kansas City, with nearly 10,000 full-time-equivalent employees as of July.