LEROY, Minn. (AP) — Some Minnesota residents are concerned about where they will turn for health care as Mayo Clinic closes or trims service at its smaller clinics.
The health system’s clinic in LeRoy will close following the departure of important staffers.
Mayo moved into rural areas of southeast Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa 25 years ago. Now the group is downsizing in some of those areas, including Albert Lea. The LeRoy clinic is one of at least four closed or consolidated this year. Mayo Clinic officials said they typically close clinics that don’t see many patients or are located near other facilities. Staffing challenges in rural communities are another factor, officials said.
“Those are just natural ebbs and flows of business,” said Doug Parks, the top administrator of Mayo Clinic’s satellite system in southeast Minnesota.
LeRoy resident Eileen Evans said she’s not sure where she’ll go to get basic care. The 86-year-old said the nearest alternative is 20 minutes away.
Kiester Mayor Doug Trytten is worried that his town will lose their Mayo outpost, which helped save his life by catching his cancer.
“They’re starting to run it more like a large corporation — which they are — but without the feelings and the understanding of how their business decisions are going to affect small-town living.” Trytten said.
The organization is investing in other areas in Minnesota to improve local care, Parks said. The system plans to build a new hospital in Cannon Falls, a $4 million expansion in Faribault and a scheduled upgrade in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Mayo is also investing $1.5 billion in a new electronic medical records system and more than $1 billion in Rochester’s Destination Medical Center.
“I think people think DMC is sucking things away from their communities when the strategy is completely opposite,” Parks said. “My personal opinion is that DMC will rise all ships.”