Dan Sparks: Mayo’s Albert Lea decision disappointing

Published 11:13 am Sunday, August 6, 2017

After experiencing a high volume of worried calls and emails, and seeing coverage of a heated Town Hall earlier this week about Mayo’s decision to minimize the care options offered at its Albert Lea campus, Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin,  says he has renewed vigor to fight the consolidation – and the impending layoffs. He’s also supporting Freeborn County Attorney David Walker in his decision to contact the Minnesota Attorney General’s office about potential anti-trust concerns relating to Mayo’s decision.

I have been watching the discussions of the consolidation of the Albert Lea and Austin hospitals closely ever since it was announced. My phone at home is ringing off the hook. Countless local officials, Mayo employees and area residents have contacted me about their fears and Mayo’s lack of transparency. I empathize with the residents of Albert Lea and the surrounding communities, because these hospital services are vital to the quality of life in our towns.

It is incredibly disappointing when the legislature unites to invest $424 million in the Destination Medical Center in Rochester and then Mayo reduces services in other parts of their service area. I voted for the DMC funding and was very frustrated when the consolidation was announced. I did not expect expansion in Rochester and service reduction in Albert Lea. The DMC was advertised as good for the entire region – the decision to reduce services in Albert Lea appears like Mayo is going back on its word.

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The residents of Albert Lea and the surrounding area have made their message loud and clear: They are not going to take this decision sitting down. I will be taking their fight to St. Paul at the next meeting of the Health Care Consumer Affordability and Access meeting on August 17 and later this fall.