ALBERT LEA and AUSTIN, Minn. – Mayo Clinic Health System is planning on moving their labor and delivery unit from Albert Lea to the Austin campus ahead of schedule. The timeline change is due to an urgent staffing shortage. Bhagra, M.D., medical director of Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea and Austin says rural health care is being challenged across the board.
“Our currently open ob physician position has been opened for about two years,” said Bhagra. “We have the force of mayo behind us. We have interviewed some people but it is hard to find the right person who is going to join a rural practice and stay here for two or three decades."
Bhagra adds the move has been in the works for a couple of years.
“Since 2017, we’ve been working to make the best use of our staff resources and facilities to keep inpatient hospital care available for area residents. We remain committed to this new approach to health care in Austin and Albert Lea,”
Bhagra explains how the employees are taking the updated news.
"They understand the why behind this change,” said Bhagra. “If we cannot staff both units reliably with high-quality people we out to be doing something that is the best possible option for our patients. “
Albert Lea resident Elizabeth Silva says she thinks the quality of care will go down.
"I think people go into labor and sometimes the baby comes out sooner than later,” said Silva. “So I think people can't wait that long and they're gonna end up going to the emergency room or have the baby in the car."
The labor and delivery unit was scheduled to move in 2020 but now the move from Albert Lea to Austin is expected to take place at the end of this year.