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Editorial: MercyOne’s plans bring health care competition to Albert Lea

MercyOne North Iowa’s announcement Thursday that it will open a clinic in Albert Lea will forever be written in the history books as an example of what a group of Albert Leans can accomplish with dedication and conviction.

The clinic is slated to open in the summer of 2020 and will include various services that will be rolled out over the next few years, as certain patient loads are reached. Services include primary and urgent care, specialty care, an imaging center and eventually an ambulatory surgery center.

Though the plans do not call for bringing back the inpatient services transitioned to Austin through Mayo Clinic Health System, the plans do two very important things: bring competition and choices to the health care market in Albert Lea.

Yes, people have always had the choice to stay in Albert Lea or drive outside of the community for choices for health care, but now the choices will actually be within our own community.

Competition in any type of business or organization is good for consumers, as it leads to increased quality of services and more reasonable prices.

It also forces companies to stay on their toes and make an extra commitment to excellence because if they don’t, they know their customers — and in this case, patients — could go somewhere else.

We look forward to seeing the plans of MercyOne unfold in Albert Lea and the potential for growth the organization could bring to the area.

Having said that, we appreciate the Mayo Clinic Health System staff who are dedicated to their positions and who daily perform their jobs to the best of their capabilities, despite mounting pressure the last two years.

No matter which health care system people ultimately choose to go to, Albert Leans deserve to be able to choose a provider they feel comfortable with and who best fulfills their expectations.