Mayo Clinic Health System working to reopen Blooming Prairie clinic

Published 12:46 pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014

By Ashley Stewart

Owatonna People’s Press

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — It has been nearly five months since a staffing shortage at Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin forced the closing of the Blooming Prairie clinic — at least, clinic officials said at the time, a closing on a temporary basis.

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And those living in Blooming Prairie might have noticed that the clinic is still closed.

But there’s work being done to change that, said Tammy Kritzer, the operations administrator for both the Austin and Albert Lea campuses of Mayo Clinic Health System.

Last week, Blooming Prairie Mayor H. Peterson told the city council that he had met with officials with Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin — the health care campus through which the Blooming Prairie clinic operated — and they told him, Peterson said, that they are committed to re-staffing the clinic.

“They are working on it,” Peterson said. “They are looking for solutions.”

However, the Austin facility is facing challenges of its own with staffing as it is 10 physicians short, Kritzer said, but she’s looking at alternatives.

“The benefit of Mayo Clinic Health System is we’re able to look beyond Austin, so we’re working with Owatonna Mayo Clinic partners to try and set up a schedule and look at options,” Kritzer said. “We’ve been working diligently.”

The clinic closed in August because of the resignation of Kathy Crabtree, the nurse practitioner at the clinic.

Without Crabtree or another licensed medical provider — a physician or another nurse practitioner — there would be no one at the clinic who could see patients, so Mayo closed the clinic in Blooming Prairie.

“We’ve been exploring our options since August, but the conversations with Owatonna have become robust over the last month or so,” Kritzer said.

Kritzer said Mayo hopes to staff the clinic as soon as possible.

The clinic’s pharmacy in the community will continue to operate until the clinic opens.

“We’re not anticipating any changes with that,” Kritzer said.