MCHS in Austin to possibly cut ICU beds

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(ABC 6 News) – Changes are likely on their way to Mayo Clinic Health System (MCHS) in Austin that could greatly impact patients in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

Minnesota House Representative Andy Smith spoke with MCHS nurses who say the number of ICU beds will decrease from 12 to just four. That’s because there’s a new standard that requires ICU units to have 80% of their beds occupied, which MCHS won’t be able to meet.

Smith, who is a member of the House Healthcare Committee, says the new policy is consistent with other stories he’s heard from across the state.

“We hear from healthcare providers quite a bit about the struggle, particularly in the nursing profession and those who see people at an emergency moment of care, that they are both understaffed and resources are being put to just other positions,” said Smith.

It isn’t clear where this new standard is coming from, or who’s enforcing it, but it’s not coming from the legislature.

Smith’s office has not yet had a chance to investigate the policy, but he does plan to examine the wider issue of lack of access to healthcare, particularly in rural and semi-rural areas like Austin.

ABC 6 News did reach out to Mayo Clinic Health System to confirm all of this but has not yet received a response. We will continue to update this story as we learn more.