LEAVENWORTH—Saint Luke’s Cushing Hospital in Leavenworth will close Oct. 1, the Saint Luke’s Health System announced last 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.