Letter: Patients are being sacrificed for profit

Published 10:47 pm Friday, November 17, 2017

This letter was sent to Cokie Roberts, Board of Trustees Mayo Clinic Health System:

Knowing that you have received lots of messages from our Save Our Hospital group, I will not go into the history of Mayo Clinic Health System’s cunning takeover of the hospital in Albert Lea and then manufacturing a crisis to justify the gutting of our hospital services. This action, of course, puts an unnecessary burden on the residents in our service area and will no doubt sooner or later cause loss of life.

Our group has the support of the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, our state representative and state senator, just to mention a few. In short, everyone in southern Minnesota can see the injustice that is taking place in our health system of which Mayo has a monopoly.

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Mayo’s monopoly has caused insurance rates in our area to be more than 30 percent higher than the insurance rates in Hennepin County (Minneapolis). An MRI in Albert Lea costs more than four times more than the state average. The patients in rural Minnesota are being sacrificed to ingratiate the Rochester campus, add to your $13.5 billion surplus and sustain an annual profit of approximately $500 million.

Ms. Roberts, don’t underestimate the passion of the SOH group. They are bright, energetic, organized and funded. They are in the fight for the long term. They are working with the Minnesota attorney general  and the Federal Trade Commission on antitrust issues. A Southern Minnesota Health Care Consortium is being formed that will be able to press the Legislature to rethink the $585 million in funding for the Destination Medical Center and write legislation to prevent Mayo from continuing to gut rural health care. In short, the Mayo brand is being harmed by the intransigence of Dr. Noseworthy, and the patients in rural Minnesota are being sacrificed for Mayo’s profit.

After reading the bios of the 32 trustees, I fear there may not be empathy for the patients in rural southern Minnesota and the trustees hear only about financials, construction projects, labor issues and the vision of greatness. The thinking that a full-service, acute-care hospital in a town of over 18,000 with a service area of over 55,0000 is unsustainable is preposterous. If Mayo can’t renew our full-service, acute-care status, then please give it back. We have a number of providers that would take it over.

In closing, I would like to invite you to one of our meetings that takes place the first and third Sundays at 6 p.m. in the American Legion Club in Albert Lea. I know you would be enlightened and impressed. Also, you would be very welcomed.

Gary Moeller

Albert Lea