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Mayo Moves Up Labor and Delivery Transition Schedule

July 11, 2019 06:43 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- In June of 2017, Mayo Clinic Health System unveiled a three-year streamlining and consolidation plan.

On Thursday, they announced a change to the timeline.

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"We want our moms and babies to have the best experience,” said Dr. Mark Ciota, COE of Mayo Clinic Health System Austin and Albert Lea. “We’re not going to be able to do that in two sites."

It's one piece of a multi-part transition plan involving Mayo facilities in Austin and Albert Lea, and it's going to happen earlier than expected.

Mayo was initially planning to transition labor and delivery services from Albert Lea to Austin in October 2020.

"We're going to move it up to October of this year," Ciota said.

The timeline is being moved up because of what Mayo calls an urgent staffing shortage due to retirements, an unexpected departure and difficulty in recruiting obstetricians. And for those who remain:

"We just can't expect them to be on call every other night, which is what they would have to be if we continued with both of the units," Ciota said.

“So I see the move, consolidating the units to one site, as a retention move,” said Dr. Sumit Bhagra, medical director for Mayo Clinic Health System Albert Lea and Austin.

"In Albert Lea year to date, we've had 167 births,” Ciota said. “And in Austin we've had 227."

"And we do expect that having larger volumes, being able to maintain their skill levels and being on call less often are factors important to our staff, and that will certainly help with retention," Bhagra said.

Labor and delivery will begin to move the week of Oct. 28, and be consolidated on the Austin campus effective Oct. 30.

"Pre-natal, post-natal, well baby will still be available in both Albert Lea and Austin," Ciota said.

"Patient experience and high quality care are the number one priority for Mayo," Bhagra added.

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Dan Conradt

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