Letter: Albert Lea is not Mayo’s mindless pawn

Published 10:20 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mayo has a blind spot. Excellence in medicine, they believe, translates into “all our decisions are excellent decisions.”   

Mayo leadership tell themselves, “It is unnecessary to get input from the communities we serve because the communities we serve have nothing to offer since our excellence is unmatched. There is no one in the Albert Lea area who has the intelligence, experience and expertise to make health care decisions for themselves. For that matter, how can anyone living in the rural areas bring any insight and creativity to how health care is experienced? Yes, Albert Lea gave us their hospital and, as well, gave us $10 million via the hospital association of Albert Lea. We can always use their money but they have nothing to add intellectually. We know this because in carrying out the process to consolidate the two hospitals, one in Albert Lea and one in Austin, we saw absolutely no value in consulting the leaders in either city. No one in Albert Lea (or Austin for that matter) could possibly provide any insight and knowledge to the health care needs of its community. Only the excellence of Mayo can achieve this.” Mayo leadership goes on to tell itself, “The people in Albert Lea will just shrug their shoulders and take whatever we give them because they know everything we do is excellent. The people of Albert Lea don’t need to think; it’s not necessary.” 

This is Mayo’s blind spot. A blind spot is dangerous because it tragically denies the creativity and full potential of this local community. Completely unaware, living in a bubble, Mayo is wandering into the wilderness. The uprooting of rural health care is their wilderness, and it will only end when they acknowledge that we, the people of Albert Lea and the greater rural areas, are their partners in health care and not their mindless pawns. We want a partner in health care and eventually we will find one, one that is trustworthy, honoring and embracing the integrity of every individual and community.

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Joel Erickson

Albert Lea