Albert Lea, a Minnesota town of 18k, digs in its heels against Mayo

Residents of Albert Lea, Minn., are fighting back against efforts by Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic to remove core services from their local hospital and relocate them at another hospital 23 miles away, according to the Star-Tribune.

Mayo's plan would move the inpatient psychiatric and chemical dependency services from Mayo Clinic Health System-Austin to Mayo Clinic Health System-Albert Lea, and move Albert Lea's inpatient surgeries, maternity and intensive care to Austin. Though the hospitals have a comparable number of births and ER visits, operating costs are higher in Albert Lea despite the hospital recording half as many daily inpatients.

While community activists in Albert Lea are protesting the move and even looking into whether they can attract another provider to create a full-service hospital, Mayo has argued that creating specialty services at each hospital will actually draw patients away from the Rochester campus and keep hospitals in both Austin and Albert Lea busy.

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