Bismarck hospital won't close inpatient pediatric unit

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A hospital in North Dakota's capital on Wednesday rescinded its decision to close its pediatric inpatient unit, two days after the closure was announced.

CHI St. Alexius Health in Bismarck said in a statement that the unit will remain open, but the health system will still go ahead with its plans to lay off 23 employees, reassign others and close the inpatient rehabilitation unit for adults.

"After listening to the community and discussing with our physician stakeholders, we will move forward with this decision to continue our focus on providing high quality inpatient pediatric care," said Kurt Schley, CEO of CHI St. Alexius Health.

Officials had cited a changing health care environment and low patient numbers as the reasons to close the pediatric inpatient and adult inpatient rehabilitation units. The hospital was even working with competing hospital Sanford Health to transfer patients from its pediatric unit.

CHI St. Alexius employs about 2,400 people, and the planned layoffs represent less than 1 percent of its workforce.

After the original announcement, Sanford CEO and President Craig Lambrecht said his hospital is in "hiring mode."

"We'd certainly love to talk with any employees impacted by the workforce reduction at CHI St. Alexius Health," he said.

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