Inpatient surgeries to move to Austin in June

Published 8:23 pm Thursday, May 17, 2018

Outpatient surgeries to remain at Albert Lea campus


By Hannah Yang, Austin Daily Hearld


Starting in early June, inpatient surgeries will move to Austin, while outpatient surgeries will remain on the Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea campus.

Mayo Clinic officials announced Thursday morning the tentative timeline for the consolidation of inpatient surgeries on the Austin campus. The exact date was influenced by several factors, such as training, space constraints and construction schedules, said Julie Hobbs, operations administrator at Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin.

“Our planning team has taken great care to ensure all workflows are in place, as well as staff hired and trained to support inpatient surgeries moving to Austin,” Hobbs said.

Examples of several inpatient surgeries moving to the Austin campus — which may vary based on patient need — included hysterectomies; intestinal and colon surgery; knee replacements; and hip fractures and replacements.

Hobbs emphasized that Albert Lea patients will still meet with their physician for before- and aftercare on the Albert Lea campus. Some examples of outpatient services that will remain in Albert Lea and offered in Austin include most breast surgery; cataract surgery; wrist fractures; and ear, nose and throat procedures.

The intensive care unit moved to Austin in October. The medical/surgical unit is expected to transfer to Austin in early 2019, and childbirth services are expected to be the last to move to Austin, in either 2019 or 2020, according to officials in previous statements.

Whether this transition would impact Albert Lea economically in either loss or growth, Mark Ciota, doctor and CEO at Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin and Albert Lea, projected that additional job growth is likely to come now that more operating rooms will be open in Albert Lea — 80 percent of surgeries performed were outpatient — and that Austin will be taking one patient a day for inpatient surgeries.

Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin and Albert Lea hired a total of 10 full-time surgical department positions to assist with the transitioning of services, Hobbs said.

“It’s been tough, but our colleagues understand that change is necessary, as Mayo Clinic’s way of ensuring quality care locally,” she said. “They see well into the future and that change is necessary.”

To accommodate patient needs, outpatient surgery hours will be extended until 7:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday in Albert Lea.

Having lived in Albert Lea for 25 years, Ciota said he bore the responsibility for how the news of transitioning broke to residents in town. He also acknowledged the transferring of inpatient surgeries to Austin may inconvenience some patients living in and around Albert Lea, but said Mayo staff are still committed to maintaining quality care for residents.

“We could’ve done better,” Ciota said. “We didn’t do a good enough job to educate the community in what our internal issues were and to help them understand the changes. I’ll take responsibility for that … change is very difficult. It was difficult for me.”