Minnesota AG asks Mayo to pause hospital consolidation; CEO Dr. John Noseworthy 'respectfully declines'

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson sent a letter to Mayo Clinic CEO and President John Noseworthy, MD, requesting the Rochester, Minn.-based health system pause consolidation plans for its Albert Lea, Minn. hospital. However, Dr. Noseworthy declined the request, according to The Post-Bulletin.

The previously unreported letter was sent Sept. 11, the same day Ms. Swanson wrote to Freeborn County Attorney David Walker clarifying that her office could not file charges to prevent Mayo from continuing with its plans. However, she asked Mayo to temporarily halt its plans while Albert Lea advocacy groups conduct a financial review of the move.

"It strikes me that the review could help facilitate an acceptable path forward for all parties. I am told that such a review is likely to take at least 90 days to complete, however," Ms. Swanson wrote to Mayo. "In order to make the financial review productive in potentially moving the parties toward a consensus approach, I ask that Mayo Clinic agree to a standstill in the cessation of any medical services in Albert Lea while the financial review is underway."

Dr. Noseworthy sent a letter back to Ms. Swanson Sept. 18 acknowledging the unpopularity of the situation, though confirming Mayo will move forward as planned.

"With regard to a possible pause in the consolidation of services in Albert Lea and Austin, Mayo Clinic must respectfully decline your request," Dr. Noseworthy wrote. "The critical staffing shortage and related patient safety risk that drove our decision to consolidate have not changed. We have an obligation to move forward with consolidation plan to ensure that we can appropriately staff critical positions and continue to deliver safe, high-quality care."

Mayo plans to move intensive care unit, maternity and inpatient services from Albert Lea to its Austin, Minn., campus. Albert Lea will stop admitting patients to their ICU Sept. 28.

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