MN attorney general getting involved in fight over Mayo's decision to downsize Albert Lea clinic

Residents are worried about the potential loss of services.

The state's highest authorities are stepping into an ongoing fight over the Mayo Clinic and its satellite hospital in Albert Lea, Minnesota. 

In short, Mayo recently upset a lot of people when it announced that it's ending some crucial services at said hospital, including the Intensive Care Unit and the childbirth ward.

And about 150 of those people showed up this month at Mayo's home base in Rochester, where they staged a protest against the controversial decision, the Austin Daily Herald reports

Their demonstration seems to have gotten the attention of the right people.

On Monday, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson will meet with officials in Freeborn County to discuss the situation, the Post Bulletin reports. The visit comes after a formal request for help from the county attorney, who is concerned whether Mayo's "past and ongoing business practices violate any state or federal laws."

Also on Monday, Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith issued a joint statement on the controversy, saying they "have serious concerns about Mayo Clinic’s decision," and that Minnesotans in Albert Lea "deserve an open discussion" about the future of their hospital. 

Because, apparently, that never happened. 

Why it's a big deal

According to the Post Bulletin, as part of the deal that helped Mayo acquire that hospital in 1995, any disruption of "major medical services" would require a "supermajority vote" involving the board of directors at the Albert Lea campus, as well as the one in nearby Austin, Minnesota. 

"It's not believed that such a vote was ever held," the paper says. 

Mayo is consolidating Albert Lea's major hospital services into the Austin campus in a plan aimed at "preserving jobs and local health care" in both communities, the clinic says

According to a fact sheet put out by Mayo, they're doing it because of "challenges in today's health care landscape," including staff shortages (i.e. not enough doctors in the area), rising costs, lower demand for inpatient care, and "declining payments from insurers for our services."

The involvement of the attorney general's office may not be the lifeline residents were hoping for, though. According to ABC 6, the attorney general "can only view [the decision to end hospital services] from a standpoint of whether any laws are being broken."

The decision to downsize was announced in June. 

As the Star Tribune pointed out last month, local residents are concerned the consolidation will force them to drive farther away for crucial services, and possibly hurt Albert Lea's economic wellbeing. 

Also in July, the Albert Lea City Council voted to oppose Mayo's plan, the Tribune reported. 

Under the current timelines, the changes would start going into effect this October. 

Next Up


Golf spots still available for the Rod Simons Memorial Golf for the Gift of Adoption

The annual golf tournament is THIS TUESDAY at Troy Burne in Hudson, Wisconsin.

police tape, crime scene

Police investigating Saturday homicide in Austin

Officers responded to a report of a woman shot in a house in Austin just before 2 a.m. Saturday.

fire, firefighter

2 dead in Wadena County house fire, boy survives

The fire was reported around 3:50 a.m. Sunday.

Jose Berrios

BerrĂ­os dominates in first start with Blue Jays

The former Twin made a great first impression with his new team.

Lauri Markkanen

Report: Timberwolves interested in sign-and-trade for Lauri Markkanen

The Wolves will look to upgrade at power forward in free agency.

Suni Lee

Suni Lee, Regan Smith take home Olympic medals Sunday

Lee won bronze in the uneven bars final, while Smith won silver in the 4x100-meter medley relay.

Screen Shot 2021-08-01 at 9.16.26 AM

'Zero respect for authority': Olmsted Co. Fair wracked by wave of juvenile disturbances

Fair officials imposed strict new rules to deal with the problem.

ambulance, crash

Baby dies, 5 injured when SUV flips over fence onto I-94 in Brooklyn Center

Alcohol was detected on the driver, according to the State Patrol.

minneapolis police

Police say officers were shot at in north Minneapolis

Officers were checking into a suspicious activity report when gunfire erupted.


Walmart to mandate COVID vaccine for some managers, corporate employees

The company will also reinstate mask mandates for employees in high-transmission areas.

Minneapolis police

Driver plows into crowd after downtown Minneapolis brawl

Two suspects have reportedly been identified.


Mayo avoids lawsuit in plan to downsize its Albert Lea hospital

The Minnesota attorney general has decided not to sue the clinic.

Bernie Sanders slams Mayo Clinic decision to shut MN facilities

The Democratic presidential candidate accused the health system of greed.

Mayo to close another clinic in southeast Minnesota

Patients at the La Crescent clinic will transition to nearby locations.

Allina Health steps in to save one Mayo Clinic location from closure

The Mayo recently announced it was moving out of Springfield.

Mayo Clinic will prioritize privately insured patients over Medicare/Medicaid patients

The hospital says it's not unique to the Mayo Clinic, but it's not usually talked about.

Rochester's Mayo Clinic once again the nation's No. 1 hospital

The hospital also earned the top ranking in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The Mayo Clinic made more than $1 billion profit in 2019

It's the first time the Rochester health system passed the figure.