Minnesota hospital to close, clinic to transfer to CentraCare: 6 things to know

CHI St. Gabriel's Health in Little Falls, Minn., will close Albany (Minn.) Area Hospital and transfer Albany Medical Clinic to St. Cloud, Minn.-based CentraCare Health, according to a news release.

Here are six things to know about the decision.

1. Leaders of CHI St. Gabriel's Health arrived at the decision as part of their strategic planning process to best allocate resources based on current and future demands. "Data shows that more people in the Albany area are receiving care in St. Cloud, due to the scope of services available as well as more convenient access to places of employment. With an average daily census of one patient and only four emergency department visits per day, continuing these services isn't appropriate stewardship of limited resources," officials said.

2. As part of the decision, inpatient, outpatient and emergency services at Albany Area Hospital will be discontinued Dec. 31, 2015.

3. CentraCare will also open a medical clinic in the existing Albany Medical Clinic space. The new medical clinic is expected to open Jan.1, 2016.The Albany clinic is the only facility CHI St. Gabriel's will transfer to CentraCare.

4. CentraCare plans to employ Albany's family medicine providers and offer as many jobs as possible to current hospital and clinic employees. There may be additional employment opportunities for displaced staff at CHI St. Gabriel’s Health facilities in Little Falls.

5. Lee Boyles, CHI St. Gabriel's Health president, said in a news release, "We are pleased that medical services will still be available in the community. The difficult decision to close the hospital in Albany is a reflection of the challenging times we're seeing in healthcare."

6. As the next step, CHI St. Gabriel's Health and CentraCare Health will conduct a comprehensive due diligence process to review each other's records and finances before completing the transfer. The required 90-day notification of the transfer has been submitted to the Minnesota Department of Health for its review and approval and, as Albany Area Hospital is a Catholic-sponsored entity, church authorities have also been notified. Finally, the review process will include a determination of what specific outpatient services will continue in Albany.

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