For 66 years, patients have seen a Springer at Mayo Clinic Health System – Red Cedar in Elmwood. Frank Springer, M.D., retired from the clinic in 2001, and his daughter Mary is retiring Nov. 6. “It’s more than leaving a job,” she says, emotion in her voice. “I care so much about what happens here.”
ELMWOOD – Strong memories weave through 45 years of work at a small-town clinic.
Some are bittersweet — providing a friendly face to patients struggling with serious health concerns.
Some are downright comical — chasing a dog that escaped from its owner’s vehicle in the parking lot just last week.
For Mary Springer, who will retire Nov. 6 from Revenue Cycle at Mayo Clinic Health System – Red Cedar in Elmwood, one thing has remained constant: Job satisfaction.
“I love my work,” says Mary. “I love being here.
Mary has worked at the clinic since 1970. When her father’s secretary died unexpectedly, Frank Springer, M.D., asked Mary to “come to work with me for a little while,” Mary recalls. More than four decades later, Mary’s job responsibilities have ranged from billing, coding, transcribing dictation and registering and scheduling patients. “You name it, I’ve done it,” Mary says.
Mary’s sister Jenny also worked assisting their father with patients for several years. Mary’s oldest friend, Carrie Nelson, M.D., Internal Medicine, also started work in Elmwood in 1981.
The Springer family legacy began in Elmwood in 1949 when Dr. Springer, an Elmwood native returned home from the U.S. Navy, starting his practice there. He retired from the clinic in 2001 and continued to see nursing home patients at Dunn County Health Care Center until a few years ago.
In Mary’s career, health care has changed enormously. Insurance wasn’t common when she started. Computers were non-existent. “I typed everything out on my manual typewriter. My dad always used to say, ‘I don’t need a computer; I’ve got Mary.’”
But two things have endured: Great patients and staff, Mary says. The patients are like family. “I’ve known most of these people all of my life.” Her coworkers are like family too. “It’s such a great group here,” Mary says. “I have worked with the absolute best from the very beginning right up to the end.”
As for her actual family, Mary says working side-by-side with her father was a gift. He taught her to value hard work and long hours. “My dad is one of those people who can subtly teach you things without you even being aware of it,” Mary says of Dr. Springer who was honored as a physician-citizen of the year by the Wisconsin Medical Society in 1997. “I learned more from him than I can possibly tell you.”
After 66 years with a Springer at the Elmwood clinic, Mary didn’t make her decision to retire lightly. “It’s more than leaving a job,” she says, emotion in her voice. “I care so much about what happens here. The best thing I can say to a patient is ‘I will help you.’ Over the years, I hope that I have done that.”
Retirement plans aren’t set for Mary. An avid biker, she’ll likely spend more time on area trails. She plans to volunteer. Where? For Mayo Clinic Health System – Red Cedar, of course.
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Mayo Clinic Health System consists of clinics, hospitals and other facilities that serve the health care needs of people in more than 60 communities in Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based providers, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive the highest-quality health care close to home.