Letter: Mayo leader is playing with words

Published 10:00 pm Monday, October 9, 2017

Many in our community received a letter from Dr. Annie Sadosty, regional vice president of Mayo Clinic Health System-Southeast Minnesota region. Somehow, I was missed in the mass mailing and didn’t receive a letter. The purpose of the letter appeared to be to inform the public and alleviate fears. Although I like to be well informed and would love my fears to be alleviated, when the letter was shared with me, it did neither.

In the letter, Dr. Sadosty states not once but twice that Mayo is not closing the hospital in Albert Lea. Dr. Sadosty is playing with words here. According to Duhaime’s Law Dictionary, a hospital is defined as a health care facility which offers medical treatment including, as may be necessary, board and lodging and necessary incidents such as nursing care or use of technical equipment. By Minnesota state statute, what Mayo is proposing is a psychiatric hospital with outpatient clinics and an ER, not the hospital that we are trying to save.

In Mayo’s own words to the attorney general, they make it clear that Albert Lea does not have a hospital, it is just one of two campuses of Mayo Clinic Health System-Albert Lea and Austin. Mayo made it clear that because Albert Lea is a campus, that rules regarding removing services from a hospital do not apply. By Mayo’s own words, we lost our hospital in 2012 when most of us weren’t paying any attention.

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Given all that, how can Dr. Sadosty claim that Mayo is not closing our hospital? Because they are providing a psychiatric hospital instead? Because it’s not a hospital at all? Like I said, she is playing with words.

Speaking of not paying attention, Mayo has quietly taken other services from Albert Lea including home health, detox, adolescent treatment, women’s treatment, pain clinic and urology. This may not be a comprehensive list because Mayo does not inform the public every time a service is removed. In the letter, Dr. Sadosty did not mention the services that were leaving and have left, only those that would be staying. I am left wondering what else we stand to lose.

Dr. Sadosty also states in the letter “Sadly, there is much confusion and misinformation about this issue.” I have heard similar remarks from Mayo before. I am always left wondering what misinformation is being referred to and exactly who is spreading the misinformation.

The Save Our Hospital group which I am proud to be involved in has five core values: Informative, inclusive, respectful, committed and trustworthy. We hold ourselves and everyone in the group to these. I guess I am naïve, but I expected both sides to hold themselves to their core values. Sadly, Mayo is struggling with their values and ours.

Angie Hanson

Albert Lea