Letter: Mayo turns its back on its closest neighbors, friends

Published 10:00 pm Friday, September 29, 2017

Mayo trustees are drinking the Kool-Aid of Mayo management when talking about Albert Lea’s hospital.

Let us present our side of the argument.

First, Albert Lea is only a community of 18,000, but our hospital provides services to over 55,000 city and rural citizens. And our service area extends 35 miles south and west of Albert Lea. That would make the ride more than an hour to the Austin hospital.

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Mayo keeps talking about Albert Lea losing only 5 percent of the services currently provided. That 5 percent first has to be proven to us because we believe it is a fictitious number, and second it does not address the amount of income lost to the Albert Lea community. Mayo refuses to tell how many jobs will be lost in our community.

They have a hard time explaining how the Albert Lea-Austin medical facility made $9.5 million income in 2014, $2.5 million in 2015 and lost somewhere between $8 million to $13 million in 2016, while all the time there was an increase of revenue each year. We believe they have already moved many patients and services from our community, which would have provided much more revenue. How do you go from $9.5 million profit to $13 million loss in three years? To most of us it sounds like poor management. Does that sound fishy?

We have seen long-term doctors leave our community. A couple elected to take early retirement and the rest could not put up with what I think are Mayo’s dictatorial policies. Many other communities in Minnesota with the same demographics as Albert Lea have fully-staffed medical facilities.

The $5 million that Mayo is investing in the Albert Lea facility is relatively a small investment when revenue from the Albert Lea medical facility should exceed $150 million per year. You also must consider that Albert Lea gave its hospital to Mayo in 1996. Mayo did not pay a dime for it, and Dr. Thompkins, a representative from Mayo, ensured us that no medical services would be moved without approval of an 11-man board. They dissolved that board, a very devious maneuver. If Mayo is losing so much money in Albert Lea, why don’t they just give it back to the community?

Yes, Mayo with more than $450 million of profit in 2015, that pays very little taxes, is asking Minnesota taxpayers to fund their devious marketing plan. Mayo turns its back on its closest neighbors and friends, the smaller communities, veterans, the Minnesota taxpayers and businesses in southeast Minnesota because of its excessive costs and big ambition.

Alan Arends

Albert Lea