ALBERT LEA and AUSTIN, Minn. — Mayo Clinic Health System recently added an in-depth section to its public website at albertleaaustinfacts.mayoclinic.org to the most up-to-date information, along with answers to frequently asked questions and misunderstandings about the changes to its services in Albert Lea and Austin.
“As members of the community ourselves, we understand how any changes to hospital services can have an impact – not just on patients and staff, but also on the community as a whole,” says Tricia Dahl, Operations Administrator at Mayo Clinic Health System – Albert Lea and Austin. “As we respond to the changing health care environment so that we can continue to provide high-quality care, preserve jobs and keep health care costs affordable, we want to do a more effective job of sharing information, updates and context.”
Since the announcement in June regarding the two-way transition of inpatient services between the Albert Lea and Austin campuses, there has been a great deal of discussion in both communities, including misinformation and unfounded speculation on social media, Dahl said. “Unfortunately, rumor and speculation can get more attention than the accurate information, and the more people see these misconceptions the easier it is to believe them,” she said. “We encourage people in the community to use this site to learn more.”
In addition to establishing the web site, Mayo Clinic Health System is committed to additional community engagement surrounding the changes, including meeting with city and county elected officials and community and business leaders. Health system leaders are also actively participating in a citizen advisory panel requested by the City of Albert Lea, and outreach meetings are being scheduled with business and civic groups and service clubs in both communities.
The site explains the changes taking place in Austin and Albert Lea and also outlines what is included in the 95 percent of services that will remain in both locations, including such as emergency room, primary and specialty (clinic) care, outpatient (same-day) surgeries and procedures, pregnancy care and services like lab, radiology and pharmacy. Albert Lea also will continue to also offer unique services such as the Cancer Center, dialysis and hyperbaric wound care. The site also clarifies the impact to jobs in each community “If you are one of the 500 people who come to the Albert Lea hospital each day for doctor visits, emergency room care, blood draws, medication monitoring, well child checks, flu shots, dialysis, specialist visits, infusions, same-day surgery and procedures, or any of our supporting services like pharmacy, physical therapy or x-rays and scans – we are still here for you, and nothing is changing,” Dahl said. “As people who live, work and raise families in the Albert Lea and Austin area, we are committed to tackling the challenges facing rural health care head-on to make sure the services you use most often are available close to home, and that we’re still here to care for future generations.”