June 12, 2019 06:54 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- It's a centerpiece of a three-year streamlining and consolidation health-care plan.
Now, Mayo Clinic is re-evaluating the time-line, and it might be moving up.
"Rural health care is being challenged in Minnesota and across the country,” said Dr. Sumit Bhagra. “We don't think we can fill two or three openings that we will shortly have and expect to fill them in the near term."
It's one of the key pieces of a transition plan involving Mayo Clinic facilities in Austin and Albert Lea. And it looks like it's going to be happening sooner than expected. As part of the plan, the family birth center, or labor and delivery services, were to move from Albert Lea to Austin in mid- to late-2020.
"It turns out that we have an urgent staffing crisis, and going on until mid- to late-2020 does not seem likely at this point in time," said Bhagra, who is medical director for Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea and Austin. “As we consider the various options, moving early seems likely, and it may be as early as the end of this year or toward the end of this year."
A new family birth center is under construction in Austin.
"The construction timeline still is on track to be met in mid- to late-2020," Bhagra said.
“The services that lead up to delivery will be exactly as they have been up to this point,” said Dr. Heidi Gaston, lead of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea and Austin.
“After they deliver, they will continue to have their post-delivery appointments in Albert Lea if they choose that location, as well as being able to have their children and the rest of their family seen in the pediatrics or family medicine clinics in Albert Lea.”
“The arrival of a child is one of the most memorable milestones that a family or a mother could have,” Bhagra said. “And therefore we want to plan to make sure this change does not disrupt their plans in any way."