Updated at 6:01 p.m. June 30, 2020


Saint Luke’s Cushing Hospital will close Oct. 1, the Saint Luke’s Health System announced Tuesday in a news release.


"This was an extremely difficult decision and one we never wanted to make," Saint Luke's Cushing Hospital’s CEO Adele Ducharme said in a news release.


Officials with the health system cite the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as being responsible for the decision to close the Leavenworth hospital.


About 70 employees may be impacted, but all of them are eligible to apply for other positions within the Saint Luke’s Health System.


Cushing Hospital was established in 1894 by Harriet Cushing, according to a website for the hospital.


Last year, Saint Luke’s Cushing Hospital transitioned to what officials called a community hospital model.


Services were scaled back, but the hospital continued to offer emergency department services.


"Our hope was that by focusing on emergency services, we would set Cushing on a successful and sustainable financial path while providing the Leavenworth County community the services most essential to them," Ducharme, who also serves as the CEO of Saint Luke’s Health System’s North Region, said in a news release. "We were just a few months into this new model when COVID-19 hit."


She said the financial impact of the pandemic was unprecedented and "we never had the opportunity to fully test this new care model for Cushing Hospital to see how successful it could be."


In addition to increased costs associated with supplies for treating COVID-19 patients and protecting health care workers, Saint Luke’s Health System also deferred many elective procedures out of concern for the safety of patients, staff and others the community, according to the news release.


With the closing of Cushing Hospital, Saint John Hospital will remain the only hospital in Leavenworth County that is open to the general public. Leavenworth also is home to a veterans hospital.


Leavenworth Mayor Mike Griswold said Tuesday that he was "angry and extremely disappointed about the decision to close Cushing Hospital."


"Once again, Saint Luke’s Health System has made a decision with major ramifications for Leavenworth citizens, without bothering to give the City Commission an explanation, much less adequate advance notice," the mayor said in a statement. "With the City Commission’s approval, I intend to invite the CEOs of both the Saint Luke’s Health System and Cushing Hospital to explain the decision to close Cushing, and the steps they will take to mitigate the impact to their Leavenworth patients."


While Cushing Hospital will close, Saint Luke’s Primary Care-Cushing facility will remain open, according to the news release from Saint Luke’s Health System.


Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR