Unity Hospital and the North Suburban Hospital District

The North Suburban Hospital District

What is the North Suburban Hospital District (NSHD)?

The North Suburban Hospital District (NSHD) is an independent body formed more than 50 years ago to create a hospital in the region. It currently represents five communities: Blaine, Fridley, Hilltop, Mounds View and Spring Lake Park. Five NSHD board members are elected locally from these, with one at-large member completing the six elected members on the board.

Does the NSHD board run the hospital?

No. The NSHD board does not govern or run the hospital or decide what services it provides in the future. Unity Hospital’s operations have been controlled solely by Allina Health for decades. The NSHD board has no decision-making authority over the hospital’s operations.

The NSHD Board was established in the early 1960s to support construction of a new hospital. Unity Hospital opened in May 1966. The NSHD board leased Unity Hospital and its properties to Glenwood Hills Hospitals, Inc. (a predecessor of Allina Health) and turned over all responsibility for hospital operations to them. The NSHD does not operate the hospital and Allina Health has no vote or presence on the NSHD board.
The independent NSHD board voted to move forward with the dissolution process in September 2016. It is our understanding that the NSHD board began dissolution discussions several months before that. The decision for dissolution is determined by the board and the cities it represents, not Allina Health.

The independent NSHD board voted to dissolve itself in September 2016. It is our understanding that the NSHD board began dissolution discussions months ago, long before anyone filed for board positions.

The decision for dissolution is up to the board and only the board members. It was made for their own reasons and not due to any influence from Allina Health.

The future of Unity Hospital (now known as Mercy Hospital – Unity Campus)

Is Unity closing?

Unity Hospital (now known as Mercy Hospital – Unity Campus) is NOT closing.

What are the plans for Unity Hospital?

Allina Health has combined the operations of Mercy and Unity hospitals into one hospital with two campuses (One Hospital, Two Campuses strategy). In January 2017, Unity Hospital became part of Mercy Hospital and is now known as Mercy Hospital – Unity Campus.

Over time, some specialty services have been consolidated, which has eliminated unnecessary duplication, reduced expenses for patients and strengthened specialty programs. Over the next few years we will continue to assess needs of our communities and how we provide needed services to ensure the very best programs are available.

We will continue to make changes to both campuses to reflect the needs of the communities we serve. For instance, according to a recent community health needs study, one of the biggest needs in the communities served by Unity is mental health services. It is estimated that one in four adults experience a mental health illness each year and about 60 percent of mental health patients struggle with addiction. Combining adult inpatient mental health and addiction services on a single campus will make it easier for patients to get the types of care they need. The inpatient mental health unit from Mercy campus moved to Unity campus in March 2017.
No. The Unity campus will continue to meet medical needs beyond adult inpatient mental health, including surgery and emergency services. One nursing unit (40 beds) at Unity has been renovated for adult inpatient mental health. The other areas of the hospital remain available for patients who need other forms of medical treatment or surgery.

Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, fewer than 60 percent seek help. Many who need help wait until they experience a crisis and end up in the emergency department. About 90 percent of all patients hospitalized for a mental health issue come through the emergency department.

Our goal is to help people recognize when they need help sooner, seek help sooner and avoid hospitalization. Patient needs are assessed and managed through clinic visits by a cadre of professionals representing all levels of providers—psychiatrists, advanced practice nurses, psychologists, therapists, counselors, nurses and other support staff. The new 24-hour mental health and addiction triage phone line helps direct patients to the care they need most. A scheduled clinic visit will ultimately serve a patient better than a trip to an emergency department.

For our communities, a single robust, consolidated inpatient program located on one campus means that patients will have access to inpatient and outpatient services, which are key to maintaining and improving health. By bringing the capabilities together on the Unity campus, the hospital can provide an elevated level of comprehensive continuum of care for the community.

Emergency services, inpatient and outpatient medical and surgical care and outpatient services such as lab, therapies and radiology will continue to be available at the Unity campus in Fridley. Whatever your health care need, our physicians and staff will help you get the right care.