Letter: Use knowledge to keep hospital

Published 10:15 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The devastating news that the Albert Lea hospital will cease to exist as an actual hospital is crippling in every aspect to the people of this community.

It has been stated that Mayo has a new model of operation, and this new model has an all-encompassing effect on every single entity of Mayo, as well as every single employee. A team approach will be utilized in each specialty: doctor, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, dietitian, nurses, CNA, psychiatrist and psychologist. The team will work together to take care of the patient. Doctors will also be respective administrators. The approach is supposed to be a flawless flow of care. Problematic with this approach is this: There is a shortage of doctors. Doctors go to college/med school/ do internship and residency. Medical school is very expensive and intense. Only the best and brightest are chosen to attend. So what has happened in the past 30 years is that nurse practitioners and physician assistants are utilized to not just supplement, but take the places of doctors. The Mayo model will accomplish this supplementation because of the large group of nondoctors the plan will encompass. Problematic is that with such a large group of caregivers, much communication and error can occur. A medical doctor is a medical doctor — period, point blank. They have worked hard to achieve their success and knowledge. They have worked in hospitals, emergency rooms and surgery units, etc. to gain this experience and knowledge. I believe we will have very few doctors in Albert Lea now.

So what do we as a community do now? We look to our neighbors to see what exactly they are doing. Blue Earth has United Hospital District, which is an independent hospital and clinic. Owatonna has an Allina hospital and a Mayo Clinic. Wabasha is now starting its own clinic after Mayo left. Our community has a large elderly population. That population has Medicare. Medicare is one of the largest reimbursement entities there is for hospital stays. A hospital does not need multiple persons to figure out reimbursement rates. Long-term care facilities around the U.S. have a standardized system that has been in place since the early 1990s. The MDS/RAI system works very well and integrates all aspects of patient care, and their Medicare A is their largest reimbursement. Albert Lea’s elderly population would be a positive for any hospital entity related to the money factor — and this most certainly is a money factor. I believe we must use our knowledge and understanding of this situation in all aspects to achieve our goal of keeping our hospital. Investigate, talk to Mayo, talk to Allina, talk to Blue Earth, talk to Wabasha. Become informed, and make it a possibility.

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Vicki Pestorious

Albert Lea