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Honorable Tim Walz

Representing the 1st District of MINNESOTA

After Hearing from Albert Lea Community on Mayo’s Consolidation Decision, Walz Goes Straight to the Top

Jul 31, 2017
Press Release
Sends letter directly to Mayo Clinic President and CEO expressing community concerns on health care, jobs and future of Albert Lea

ALBERT LEA, MN – Today, U.S. Representative Tim Walz (MN-01) sent a letter to the President and CEO of Mayo Clinic, John H. Noseworthy M.D., on behalf of constituents concerned with the consequences of losing access to certain services Mayo provides in their hometown. Rep. Walz sent the letter after hearing from local officials, union leaders, First District constituents, and interested parties at a roundtable conversation earlier today on Mayo Clinic’s decision to close certain hospital services at its Albert Lea facility. Mayo plans to consolidate its Albert Lea campus’ overnight hospitalization, inpatient care for major surgeries, ICU and childbirth services on its Austin campus.

“Thank you to all who came out today to share your concerns about how Mayo’s decision would impact the community, jobs and the local economy, and the future of Albert Lea and the surrounding area,” Rep. Walz said immediately following today’s roundtable conversation. “I greatly value and share your concerns. In addition to taking them under advisement as I continue to consider potential actions, I will make sure that Mayo Clinic hears them loud and clear.”

At the roundtable conversation in Albert Lea, Rep. Walz heard from Albert Lea citizens, local officials, Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA), Save Our Hospital, and Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

“Mayo’s failure to fully and proactively engage the Albert Lea community on this decision is disappointing,” Rep. Walz wrote in his letter to Dr. Noseworthy following the Albert Lea roundtable. “Hospitals – like our schools and small businesses on Main Street – are the lifeblood of rural America and small towns… I urge you to give my constituents’ concerns and ideas your full and fair consideration. Please know that I stand ready to do whatever I can at the federal level to be a partner with you and the good people of Albert Lea in finding alternative and acceptable solutions.”

The full text of Rep. Walz’s letter to Dr. Noseworthy is below:

July 31, 2017

John H. Noseworthy M.D.

CEO and President

Mayo Clinic

200 First St. SW

Rochester, MN 55905

Dear Dr. Noseworthy:

Thank you for the incredible work of the talented and dedicated Mayo employees in caring for patients from southern Minnesota and all across America and the world. It is an honor to represent in Congress my constituents who both work and receive world-class treatment at your facilities.   

We have a long and frank working relationship to benefit the people of southern Minnesota and our country on national health care and economic development policies and priorities. I value my relationship with you and your employees. That’s why I am contacting you directly on behalf of a group of constituents, who fear losing access to Mayo’s world-class care in their home town.  

Today, I met with constituents, including representatives from Save Our Hospital, who expressed opposition to your decision to close certain services in the Albert Lea facility, namely overnight hospitalization, inpatient care for major surgeries, ICU and childbirth, and consolidate those services on your Austin campus.  My constituents said they were blind-sided by your decision and were taken aback by how quickly the transition has started. There is also serious concern about the impact of your decision on the local economy, community pride and good-paying jobs. 

I understand that local leaders are urging you to suspend transferring services to Austin in order to provide time and space for negotiations to occur between Mayo and Albert Lea leaders with goal of finding alternative and acceptable solutions

Mayo’s failure to fully and proactively engage the Albert Lea community on this decision is disappointing. Hospitals - like our schools and small businesses on Main Street - are the lifeblood of rural America and small towns. A partial closure of a hospital, regardless of the logic used to justify it, feels like a punch to the gut. 

I urge you to give my constituents’ concerns and ideas your full and fair consideration. Please know that I stand ready to do whatever I can at the federal level to be a partner with you and the good people of Albert Lea in finding alternative and acceptable solutions.

Thank you for your consideration.

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