One of Minnesota’s largest hospital systems is closing Twin Cities clinics that specialize in the care of older adults, disrupting care for hundreds of senior patients and exacerbating a statewide shortage of geriatric specialists. Hennepin Healthcare has notified 700 patients who receive care at its Augustana and Parkside senior care clinics, both in Minneapolis, that they will be closing at the end of February. Patients who wish to stay with Hennepin Healthcare, which operates HCMC, the large public hospital in downtown Minneapolis, can transition to one of the system’s eight neighborhood clinics or to its large, new clinic and specialty care center in downtown Minneapolis, officials said.
The Hennepin Healthcare clinics have long employed doctors, nurses and social workers who specialize in the complex health needs of seniors, and their closure comes amid growing concerns that such specialty care is failing to keep pace with the aging population, both nationally and in Minnesota. The United States has only 6,952 geriatricians (of whom about half are full time), and the nation will need 33,200 such specialists by 2025 to keep pace with rising demand, according to a 2017 federal study. More than half of Minnesota’s counties have no certified geriatricians, according to the state association of geriatricians.