ALBERT LEA, Minn. – In June of last year, Mayo Clinic announced they would be consolidating inpatient services at their Austin and Albert Lea campuses – including child birth and intensive care.
This is what inspired the formation of the “Save Our Hospital” committee, now known as “save Our Healthcare,” which has been active in the fight against Mayo’s plan.
“If we don’t do something, it’s not going to get any better,” said Bill Buege, a retired family physician.
It’s an effort that began one year ago.
“Two Junes ago, we got hit with the bombshell that they (Mayo Clinic) were going to take away our inpatient surgery, our med-surge – which is basically any overnight stays in the hospital, and our baby place,” said Angie Hanson.
So Sabre Healthcare employees and community members decided to rally together in order to stand up to the Mayo Clinic.
“Every Wednesday when it has been raining, when it has been snowing, when it has been below-zero; we’ve had people who have stood out there,” added Hanson.
With all of the effort, they are beginning to see results.
“A lot of people got together, literally hundreds, perhaps thousands of people have joined the effort and signed up on a Facebook program,” added Buege.
So tonight, they gathered at the Leo Carey American Legion to celebrate the progress.
“We’re here to celebrate the anniversary of demonstrating what the people want – that’s to restore healthcare as close to the way it was as we can get,” said Buege.
With the election being just around the corner, the group hopes to get support from local representatives.
“We might when we get to the hospital bed moratorium – we might need legislation on that, or other support in bringing our new provider in, or even some financial support in doing so,” said Hanson.
KIMT reached out to the Mayo Clinic for a comment on tonight’s celebration, but declined as it was not directly affiliated with them.