Study: Hospital Feasible In Albert Lea Under Right Conditions

December 06, 2017 07:59 AM

(ABC 6 News) - In the fall Mayo Clinic Health System moves some of its inpatient services from its Albert Lea campus to its Austin facilities.

A large contingent in Albert Lea was upset by the move and collectively hired a consultant to see if it's economically feasible for the city to operate a hospital.


Tuesday night, Quorum Health Resources said it would be feasible for Albert Lea to support a full-service, acute care hospital under the right conditions.

It came down to three options. The city could operate an individual hospital, which the firm said wasn’t as feasible as the other options. They could purchase or build a new hospital with another health care provider, which they have four interested parties for already, according to Quorum Health Services. Third, they could continue to negotiate with Mayo Clinic.

John Maher with QHS said they recommend a combined parallel of options two and three.

"One is to continue to negotiate with Mayo on provision of services here, the second path was to pursue a strategy to go after physicians and be able to attract and keep physicians here in the market," Maher said.  

If the city tried to buy Mayo Clinic's facility, and run it with another provider, Maher estimates it would cost between $60-80 million, plus they'd be competing with a medical powerhouse.

"That's kind of what we all knew, but it was interesting to see it on paper that what we were thinking is true and people do want to go there, but could some of those people stay here and we could get those services provided here," Save Our Hospital member Angie Hanson said.

Tuesday, Mayo Clinic said in a statement:

“Over the past several months, we have heard the concerns from our community, and the questions that we continue to receive and respond to are important. The facts are that we remain committed to our patients, our employees, and the people of Albert Lea and Austin. We are honored to be this community’s long-time health care provider, and we intend to be here to care for future generations. While it is not Mayo Clinic’s decision as to whether other providers come to Albert Lea, we are not interested in leaving Albert Lea, and therefore the medical center is not for sale.”

 City manager Chad Adams said Albert Lea is on board with the parallel option.

“Potentially if another provider wants to be in the community how that impacts their ability to be in the community as a competitor and as a sole entity in the future, recognizing that Mayo doesn’t want to sell, but we want to continue to have conversations and look at both options,” Adams said.

Since there was only a presentation Tuesday night, the city has scheduled a few opportunities for public comment, including their next council meeting on Monday, December 11.


Elise Romas

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