ALBERT LEA, Minn. — After a careful review of several options on the future of health care in Alden and Kiester, Mayo Clinic Health System has reached the conclusion that we are not able to staff these two clinics at a level that will provide proper clinical care. Therefore, both the clinics in Alden and Kiester will close effective Friday, Jan. 25, 2019.
“This decision was not made lightly as we understand how and where people receive health care is a very important issue,” said Jay Mitchell, M.D., chair of outpatient practice for Mayo Clinic Health System’s Southeast Minnesota region. “We listened to community concerns and pursued several options. With patient data showing that more than half of the patients using the Alden and Kiester clinics come from other communities, as well as less than 10 patients being seen on any given day at either clinic, we believe patients’ health care needs will be better served in other nearby clinic locations in Lake Mills, New Richland, Wells and Albert Lea.”
Mayo Clinic Health System indicated in early October, 2018 that a number of staff changes throughout several clinics created staffing challenges in two of our clinics in Southeast Minnesota ― Alden and Kiester. At that time, we announced a plan to reduce service to one day a week from November through December 31, after which time there would not be a prescribing provider on site in Alden or Kiester.
“We have met face to face with the 10 Alden and Kiester staff, which includes schedulers, LPNs, and lab technicians. No jobs will be lost as all of these staff will be able to select other permanent positions at any of our other Mayo Clinic Health System locations. We sincerely appreciate each of these staff for all they have done to care for patients in Alden and Kiester,” adds Dr. Mitchell.
Annie T. Sadosty, M.D., regional vice president for Mayo Clinic Health System Southeast Minnesota region, says community meetings in Alden and Kiester have been very helpful and provided important insight as to what level of care is needed in both communities. “We very much appreciate the opportunity to discuss the challenges rural health care faces with city and community leaders in Alden and Kiester.”
“We also are very willing to continue to these discussions with each community to continue to look for innovative ways to meet patient care needs close to home,” said Dr. Sadosty.
Dr. Sadosty adds that both the Alden and Kiester clinics will use the one day a week they are open in January to provide education to local patients and community members on how to access care in other ways, including:
- A 24/7 Nurse Care Line to treat routine conditions, including prescribing medications when appropriate. Call 507-373-2384 to access our registered nurses via phone.
- Patient Online Services where you can access a secure website that allows you to email questions to your care team, refill prescriptions, view lab results, and more. Sign up online.
- Express Care Online also is available to you through the Patient Online Services website, where you can submit your care issue or concern online and receive a reply from one of our physicians, nurse practitioners or physician assistants within minutes to address your concern.
- Patients also can receive care at other clinic locations in Lake Mills, New Richland, Wells and in Albert Lea, including Express Care in the Albert Lea or Austin Hy-Vee’s.
This decision continues to reflect ongoing issues that affect rural health care. “Recruitment of providers continues to be a challenge in not just the Southeast Minnesota region, but at all rural health care sites,” says Mitchell. “Combined with the lower utilization rate at rural clinics, it is increasingly more difficult to direct resources to facilities like Alden and Kiester. It’s an issue we will continue to face regionally and nationally, which is why we need to continue to come up with alternative ways to provide care to our patients.”
Press ContactRick Thiesse