ALBERT LEA, Minn. – The coronavirus crisis has a new victim…the MercyOne clinic project in Albert Lea.
Plans had been for the facility to open in the former Herberger’s building at the Northbridge Mall by October. MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center, however, has issued a statement putting the brakes on the project:
“At MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center, we are focused on providing compassionate care to our patients and families and also preparing for COVID-19 impacts to our community. Given the challenges of this pandemic and an unprecedented time in health care, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily halt construction plans for the Albert Lea Clinic.“
“MercyOne remains committed to resuming our plans for construction and will share an update as soon as a new timeline is determined. We greatly appreciate our continued partnership with the Albert Lea Health Care Coalition and look forward to working together to bring our new clinic and health care options to the community.“
Coalition President Brad Arends and the trustees are completely understanding of the situation.
"We view it as part of our duty to say let's deal with the most important thing first, and that is to get through the coronavirus.
"Bottom line is, this thing is going to get built...if the world starts spinning in the right direction again, if we start two months from now...instead of breaking ground in April, we break ground in June. Instead of opening Cctober 1, we'd open December 1."
The Albert Lea Healthcare Coalition had worked to bring a new medical provider to town after Mayo Clinic Health System announced it would be moving inpatient services from Albert Lea to its Austin campus. It was announced in September 2019 that MercyOne would be that new provider.