ALBERT LEA, Minn. – The latest in the effort to keep full-service health care in Albert Lea, a name change and finding evidence it can work.
The group formerly known as Save Our Hospital, which is spearheading the effort to keep health care services in the city, is now Save Our Healthcare.
The organization has been working to do so ever since Mayo Clinic announced its decision to consolidate services at its Albert Lea and Austin campuses.
“We're not focusing at all on Mayo anymore, it's done us no good,” Brad Arends, SOH Chairman, said. “We've gone back and said we were not successful at saving our hospital, but that doesn't mean we can't save our healthcare.”
SOH hired a new consultant to help accomplish its three goals: restore health care services, take back control of health care into the hands of the people and local entities, and reduce health care costs.
Arends said the consultant, which started last week, is in ‘phase one.’
“Phase one is a liability step, then phase two is the business plan,” Arends said.
The consultant is looking into whether bringing in an alternative provider will actually lower healthcare costs and if employers would push employees to use the alternative provider.
“I’m confident that this first phase is going to be positive for us,” Arends said.
Arends said SOH had a meeting with major employers in Albert Lea and said all were in support of pushing employees to a provider other than Mayo if prices would be lower.
He also aid SOH has already received interest from a number of service providers, bringing competition to the healthcare market in Albert Lea.
Phase one should be completed in 90 days. Phase two will consist of figuring out logistics of creating a new health care facility, like deciding on services provided and the size of a new clinic.
SOH paid for the first phase but will ask for help paying for phase two.