Letter: Albert Lea needs full-service hospital

Published 8:58 pm Monday, August 14, 2017

We need to remain a full-service, acute care hospital.

Our ancestors in Albert Lea and rural areas built Naeve Hospital with community contributions and donated labor over 100 years ago. We are currently a full-service hospital to meet most needs of the 65,000 people, involving three counties and all rural areas that count on our being here in present capacity.

I remember feeling such pride when Mayo wanted to be involved in our wonderful health system. In 1995 Mayo promised to preserve a governing board with local control and not cut any services or transfer funds without the board’s approval. Did they purchase our hospital and clinics? Not that I am aware of.  But we thought it was all for our benefit.

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Well, to our disappointment, they have blind-sided us with their decision to remove Baby Place, all inpatient services (surgery/overnight stays) and the ICU.  We would have an ER for assessment. If need be we will be taken by ambulance to Austin; think how much that would cost! We will in turn have all of the Austin hospital’s psych area, which, by the way, will generate the lowest revenue for us. Each clinic would be remodeled to comply with each other’s new purpose and I am sure the costs will be reflected in our taxes.  This affects our economy in every way.

Albert Lea Hospital serves all of the rural areas and small towns (three counties). Much of the opinions don’t involve fact. It is 23 miles to Austin, but much more from other areas (50-60 miles). Our hospital is also one of two main employers in Albert Lea, the other being the school district. Our town’s existence as we know it depends of keeping services here. We are setting an example for all rural hospitals. Please support us in our endeavors.

Merilynn “Mimi” Linde

Albert Lea