Freeborn County Board of Commissioners gets update on Mayo consolidation process

There are still a lot of questions about the project.

Posted: Sep 4, 2018 6:06 PM
Updated: Sep 4, 2018 9:35 PM

ALBERT LEA, Minn. – Freeborn County and mayo Clinic Health System representatives are still not seeing eye-to-eye on why services are being consolidated between Albert Lea and Austin.

At a public meeting on Tuesday, Mayo representatives updated the board on the project. They told the board they’re working on getting observation hospital beds in Albert Lea. They also are working with the county on opening a mental health care center.

But county commissioners and citizens who came to the public meeting are still unsatisfied with answers surrounding the labor and delivery and nursery services moving to Austin in 2020.

“I just wish somebody would be honest and tell me why this decision was made,” Glen Mathiason, 1st District Commissioner, said. I got my feelings on why it was made. But that's the way I feel about it, I had to say it. Because it really hurts this community.”

Mathiason said for his constituents on the western side of Albert Lea, driving to Austin to deliver a baby, could be about 55 miles of travel.

Mayo representatives said one birthing center is more reasonable for services to continue in the future. They said recruiting and retaining physicians in the area is difficult. According to them, it takes about three years to recruit one OBGYN.

“A new graduate from an OB wants to be busier. They want to maintain their skills and see complex cases as well,” Dr. Sumit Bharga said.

“I don't buy that,” Dan Belshan, 2nd District Commissioner said. “If they don't want to deliver babies here maybe we'll get someone who will from a different hospital.”

The group Save our Healthcare also weighed in on the conversation. The group, formerly known as Save Our Hospital, spearheaded the effort to keep all of Mayo’s services in Albert Lea. SOH is now focused on restoring services, reducing healthcare costs, and taking back control of healthcare in the region.

Brad Arends is the chair of SOH and thanked the commission for hosting the public meeting. He also encouraged them to consider healthcare costs when talking to Mayo, in addition to access to services.

“We have the highest health insurance rates in the state of Minnesota,” Arends said. “And it's only because of one reason. It's not because we're less healthy. It's because we pay more.”

After the meeting Arends told KIMT the meeting went as he expected, saying no new information was offered.

In a statement following the meeting, Mayo representatives sent KIMT this statement:

“We thank the county commissioners for the opportunity to speak with them today. We look forward to ongoing discussions with the county, city and community groups about the future of health care for residents of Albert Lea, Austin and surrounding counties in Minnesota and northern Iowa.”

To learn more on what services can be found at each campus, updated information can be found here

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 912370

Reported Deaths: 9506
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1780492023
Ramsey736781043
Dakota67355574
Anoka63852570
Washington40349356
Stearns33475276
St. Louis29443403
Scott25842181
Wright25830216
Olmsted22258128
Sherburne18919126
Carver1661066
Clay12033104
Blue Earth1144868
Rice11410138
Crow Wing11170122
Chisago992378
Kandiyohi9800106
Otter Tail9758127
Benton9018125
Beltrami816094
Goodhue805597
Douglas7849100
Itasca769597
Mower731249
McLeod710983
Winona708657
Isanti697883
Steele682731
Morrison671579
Becker627174
Polk599484
Freeborn559646
Carlton543474
Mille Lacs529474
Lyon527261
Nobles524754
Nicollet521160
Pine512642
Cass500553
Todd490743
Brown469757
Le Sueur457733
Meeker431457
Martin385843
Wabasha373610
Waseca372332
Dodge359811
Hubbard354749
Roseau315531
Fillmore304315
Wadena301740
Redwood281245
Houston270717
Renville268051
Faribault257032
Pennington251030
Sibley251017
Kanabec248136
Cottonwood229232
Aitkin221550
Chippewa219442
Pope206710
Watonwan197420
Yellow Medicine187723
Rock177428
Koochiching176023
Swift172622
Stevens167011
Jackson160816
Clearwater157520
Marshall153122
Murray151811
Pipestone149529
Lake132224
Lac qui Parle122125
Wilkin120616
Mahnomen105914
Norman10489
Grant101110
Big Stone9465
Lincoln8745
Kittson73023
Red Lake71310
Unassigned629124
Traverse6056
Lake of the Woods5255
Cook3070

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 523052

Reported Deaths: 7289
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk80319799
Linn32142424
Scott26637292
Black Hawk21974378
Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
Dubuque18515241
Pottawattamie15890213
Dallas15320113
Story1380258
Warren8450104
Cerro Gordo7964123
Clinton7725114
Webster7326122
Des Moines7098105
Marshall669093
Unassigned66470
Muscatine6645117
Wapello6441144
Jasper619591
Sioux610177
Lee5908105
Marion557897
Buena Vista502149
Plymouth488388
Henry418655
Benton404859
Jones404862
Bremer395372
Washington391463
Boone389739
Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
Dickinson314655
Jackson307747
Buchanan305741
Clay295536
Delaware294654
Kossuth289077
Fayette286353
Hardin284353
Tama279777
Page272533
Wright266149
Cedar265527
Hamilton259857
Winneshiek258143
Floyd255449
Clayton244459
Poweshiek237243
Madison234525
Harrison234379
Cass233466
Butler232744
Iowa229634
Jefferson223043
Mills220930
Winnebago215938
Hancock214639
Cherokee211347
Lyon206142
Appanoose205357
Allamakee203955
Calhoun196919
Shelby196442
Union191141
Humboldt185130
Grundy183637
Franklin183029
Mitchell182043
Chickasaw178922
Emmet178246
Louisa176953
Sac171026
Guthrie168137
Montgomery161745
Clarke160829
Keokuk150839
Palo Alto150532
Howard146824
Monroe142739
Ida130141
Greene127517
Davis124625
Lucas124426
Monona122939
Worth12139
Pocahontas120724
Adair114337
Osceola104818
Decatur101913
Taylor98514
Fremont95913
Van Buren93222
Wayne84525
Ringgold76729
Audubon74917
Adams5748
Rochester
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 35°
Forest City
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 37°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 40°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 35°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 35°
Tracking chances for rain and snow
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events