Four Minnesota hospitals agree to take any state Ebola patients

Unity Hospital in Fridley, Minn.
Unity Hospital in Fridley, Minn.
Bridget Bennett / MPR News

Four Minnesota hospitals have agreed to provide ongoing care for any patients diagnosed with Ebola in the state.

The University of Minnesota Medical Center - West Bank Campus in Minneapolis, Unity Hospital in Fridley, the St. Paul campus of Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic's St. Marys Hospital in Rochester will handle infected patients, officials said Friday.

Ebola patients diagnosed at other hospitals would be isolated and then transferred to one of the four designated care centers, said Lawrence Massa, chief executive of the Minnesota Hospital Association. All of the major hospital systems in the state have agreed to support the plan, he added.

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"The systems have all pledged staff resources, expertise and money to help the four hospitals that are stepping up at this point and saying we'll be the initial treatment resources in the state," Massa said.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will send a team to Minnesota as early as next week to visit the four hospitals and assess their readiness to handle an Ebola case, he added.

"Hospitals have a responsibility to care for our communities and these hospitals stand ready to take a patient today," said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger said in statement.

It's not clear yet, exactly how the costs of treating Ebola patients will be shared.

The ten largest hospital systems came together to coordinate the plan and support the four hospitals with staffing, staffing and funding. But there's no pool of money that's been set aside.

Three of the larger hospitals in the metro area will not be providing ongoing care to Ebola patients.

Massa said Hennepin County Medical Center, Regions Hospital and North Memorial Medical Center are Level 1 trauma centers and they need to be freed up to focus on providing that care.