We are extremely concerned and upset about Mayo Clinic's decision to remove the In-Patient Hospital Stay and Baby Delivery Services from Albert Lea and transfer those services to Austin, Minnesota.
Mayo plans to use our current hospital only for chemical dependency and psychiatric services plus a limited Emergency Room.
Medicaid funding is decreasing and many psychiatric patients depend upon that to cover their expenses, so how long will that be available before Mayo decides to close that service down too?
Mayo's plan is devastating to our community. How can we possibly entice and encourage new businesses and new residents to move our area if we do not have a full service clinic and hospital?
I have been a resident of Albert Lea all of my life and, frankly, I do not want to stay if I cannot count on a full service hospital.
My husband has many health issues and it is very important to us to have immediate help when needed, not a 25-30 minute ambulance ride Austin.
In the past few years, we have heard of birthing mothers and elderly patients being sent to Austin, Owatonna and Rochester, because they were told there were no hospital rooms available in Albert Lea.
The truth is Albert Lea had many hospital beds/rooms available. There was simply a shortage of staff (verified by local nurses) to take care of the patients and this is due to Mayo cutting back the number of staff (part of their long range plan). Please note - Albert Lea has more hospital rooms that Austin.
Mayo has created havoc with several other small communities in southern Minnesota in the last couple of years, Fairmont, Lake City, Madelia and Wabasha, to name a few.
For example, the Fairmont medical system had approximately 740 employees prior to Mayo transferring services, now there are only about 400 employees. What has that done to their economic stability?
Mayo is a multi-million/billion dollar monopoly business. The original legacy by the Mayo Brothers was "Patient First."
It provided caring, professional and personal care. Now it appears to be "money first."
This plan has been in place for a few years without Mayo consulting or informing hospital employees (doctors, nurses, etc.) or Albert Lea City and Freeborn County leaders.
Mayo did not perform an economic research study, regarding the affect it would have on Albert Lea, Freeborn County, or its nearby northern Iowa counties - Winnebago and Worth.
Albert Lea was one of the first towns designated as a "healthy" Blue Zone. What will happen to our town's designation, once we no longer have a full service hospital?
Our medical costs and medical insurance premiums are 29 percent higher in our area compared to the metropolitan area of Minnesota, due to Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
If you too are concerned about the transfer of health services from Albert Lea, please contact your federal, state and local representatives and tell them why Mayo's decision is devastating to the very sick, seniors, mothers and newborns.
Joanne Hansen, Member of Save Our Hospital
Albert Lea, Minnesota.