Children's Minnesota expects to close the pediatric intensive care unit on its St. Paul campus next year, while adding ICU capacity at its hospital in Minneapolis.

The changes are part of a broader shift first disclosed more than a year ago where services for some of the most complex pediatric patients are being concentrated in Minneapolis. Also next year, Children's is creating an inpatient psychiatric unit at its medical center in St. Paul, a move that responds to growing concerns over pediatric depression, anxiety and other mental disorders that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Children's, which is the state's largest pediatric hospital, started trimming jobs last year while looking for more cost-effective ways to provide services in response to a variety of financial pressures including the COVID-19 pandemic, demographic trends and a cost-control push by health insurers.

"Children's Minnesota is integrating our pediatric intensive care units on the Minneapolis campus, which is 10 miles away from the St. Paul campus," Jennifer Olson, chief operating officer at Children's Minnesota, said in a statement. "This will also allow us to utilize space and resources for new services, such as our inpatient mental health unit."

The pediatric intensive care unit in St. Paul currently includes 12 beds. When it closes, Children's will add 14 beds to its ICU for pediatric patients in Minneapolis. Those beds currently are being used on the Minneapolis campus, Olson said, for medical/surgical patients as well as intensive care overflow.

"As one health care system with two hospital campuses, Children's Minnesota is looking at the best ways to provide care across our system in the most efficient way possible while providing the best care for patient families," Olson said. "Often, we can provide better quality and more timely care by investing in services in one location rather than split across our hospital campuses."

The timeline for the ICU changes is not yet firm — hospital officials say it likely will occur at some point in 2022, but not in the next few months.

As part of the broader shift, inpatient diabetes care moved to the Minneapolis campus at the beginning of 2021, and the hospital also is working to move inpatients needing epilepsy care from the St. Paul hospital. Neurosurgery services have expanded in Minneapolis, officials said, but have not closed in St. Paul.

Children's said it does not anticipate closing its neurosurgery clinic in St. Paul, but the goal is to make Minneapolis the primary home for those services. Even with the changes, Children's will continue to provide neonatal intensive care as well as medical/surgical services at its St. Paul hospital, officials say, along with its emergency department.

The new 22-bed inpatient unit in St. Paul for pediatric patients with mental health needs is expected to open in 2022.

"With the volatility due to the pandemic, we are enabling our system — with our two campuses in Minneapolis and St. Paul — to work seamlessly together to provide the best care for children and families," Olson said.