Services continue unchanged at Albert Lea MercyOne after ownership transition

Published 5:06 am Friday, July 8, 2022

After months of investigation, Trinity Health and CommonSpirit Health announced an agreement for Trinity Health to acquire all the facilities and assets of MercyOne back in April. MercyOne, which opened a clinic in Albert Lea roughly one year ago, had been operating under the two organizations since 1998. 

Despite the changes, services will continue unchanged at MercyOne facilities.

“This changes nothing,” said Brad Arends, president of the Albert Lea Healthcare Coalition. “… This changes nothing regarding our clinic.

“It will have the exact same name, the same people, we have our same contacts down in Mason City — it changes absolutely nothing.”

MercyOne said in the release the decision was “about making MercyOne stronger and more unified so we can grow and care for more people in our community.”

On a Frequently Asked Questions page on MercyOne’s website after the agreement, MercyOne said there would not be changes to the organization’s name or branding, and that it would “remain and grow as a regional health ministry within Trinity Health.”

Doctors will remain and costs will stay the same, and the decision to have Trinity Health become the single parent should not have an impact on the local hospital.

“Know our full circle of care remains available to meet all of your needs — from scheduled appointments to urgent or emergency care,” the FAQ release said.

MercyOne will also transition to Trinity Health’s platforms, which includes a single electronic health record. The hope is that this will let patients manage their care across different MercyOne services and facilities.

The organization said the transition to Trinity Health would be “seamless for patients” and that the merger would provide more services.

“True to our shared Catholic mission, our goal is to provide high-quality, compassionate care with the best patient/member experience possible,” said Mike Slubowski, president and chief executive officer at Trinity Health, in a press release. “We will accomplish that goal through a holistic approach, with a range of health services and technologies that are fully connected and coordinated.”

The integration, regulation filings and other necessary steps for the transaction are expected to be finished this summer.

“After two decades of successful collaboration, we are immensely proud of our partnership with Trinity Health and our efforts to advance health care stateside,” said Marvin O’Quinn, president and chief operating officer at CommonSpirit Health, in a press release. “While the current structure has been instrumental in growing our health care services in Iowa, we believe this decision is ultimately what is best for our patients, colleagues and our communities.” 

Albert Lea Healthcare Coalition member Bill Buege was not concerned about the total facilities and assets acquisition and echoed Arrends thoughts.

“Trinity has had absolutely nothing to do with the operation in Albert Lea as far as I can tell,” Buege said.

Bob Ritz, president and CEO at MercyOne, echoed O’Quinn sentiments and said the transition would result in a more cohesive health system.

“We greatly value these partners as part of our circle of care and becoming one regional health ministry within Trinity Health will help position MercyOne as a stronger partner,” the FAQ said.

According to a press release, MercyOne serves more than 3.3 million patients yearly and has 16 medical centers, 27 affiliate organizations and more than 420 care sites.