Mayo establishes website for information about transition

Published 9:05 pm Thursday, August 10, 2017

Mayo Clinic Health System announced Thursday it has added an in-depth section to its public website for information about the planned transition of services between the Albert Lea and Austin campuses.

Since the hospital system announced in June that it plans to transition most inpatient services to its Austin — with behavioral health services moving to Albert Lea — there has been much discussion about the proposal, including misinformation and unfounded speculation, said Tricia Dahl, operations administrator at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea and Austin in a press release.

“Unfortunately, rumor and speculation can get more attention than the accurate information, and the more people see these misconceptions the easier it is to believe them,” she said. “We encourage people in the community to use this site to learn more.”

Email newsletter signup

The site, at, includes a section for what the hospital system describes as frequently asked questions and misunderstandings.

“As members of the community ourselves, we understand how any changes to hospital services can have an impact — not just on patients and staff, but also on the community as a whole,” Dahl said. “As we respond to the changing health care environment so that we can continue to provide high-quality care, preserve jobs and keep health care costs affordable, we want to do a more effective job of sharing information, updates and context.”    

Hospital leaders have previously stated 95 percent of services will remain in both locations, including services in the emergency room, primary and specialty care, outpatient surgeries and procedures, pregnancy care and lab, radiology and pharmacy services. Albert Lea will continue to provide the Cancer Center, dialysis unit and hyperbaric wound care.

“If you are one of the 500 people who come to the Albert Lea hospital each day for doctor visits, emergency room care, blood draws, medication monitoring, well child checks, flu shots, dialysis, specialist visits, infusions, same-day surgery and procedures, or any of our supporting services like pharmacy, physical therapy or X-rays and scans — we are still here for you, and nothing is changing,” Dahl said.

Brad Arends, co-chairman of the Save Our Hospital group, said he is concerned with Mayo’s statement that 95 percent of services will remain in Albert Lea.

“Our concern is will 95 percent of the gross revenue remain in Albert Lea — because our belief is the 5 percent of the services leaving Albert Lea are the ones bringing in the most gross revenue,” Arends said.

“If our hospital has a significant revenue drop (once the changes are made), that means there’s going to be a significant employee drop.”

He referenced a similar situation that took place in Fairmont, where jobs at the hospital have gone down.

“We can’t help but be concerned that the same thing is going to happen here,” Arends said.

He said Save Our Hospital believes there are non-Mayo hospitals in Greater Minnesota that have the same fingerprint as Albert Lea’s health system that are profitable. However, they are run differently than how Mayo runs their operations.