It looks like Mayo Clinic now has a playbook for closing its facilities in small communities.
On late Friday afternoon, Mayo Clinic announced it will shutter its Waukon, Iowa center on Dec. 14.
That follows the same pattern Mayo Clinic followed, when it hit La Crescent, Minn. with the bad news in Augustthat it was pulling its services out of that community.
Mayo Clinic Spokesman Ricky Thiesse said of the La Crescent announcement that it was not made late on a Friday to try to avoid news coverage, but to allow employees to go home and tell their families before the closure was reported.
Of course, the employees could have been told that they were losing their jobs on Thursday or even Tuesday. However, Mayo Clinic dropped the news on them on a Friday afternoon.
In Waukon, Mayo Clinic officials said it is just too hard to get health care staffers to work in rural areas to make running a clinic office "sustainable."
The press announcement quoted Eric Erickson, who has the lengthy title of vice-chair of administration for the Southwest Wisconsin Region of the Mayo Clinic Health System, as stating, "We have been actively recruiting physicians to this practice for many years. Attracting physicians to rural clinics has become increasingly difficult as more physicians seek employment opportunities that offer greater work-life balance. For most, that means choosing positions that do not require being on call a majority of the time, as is common in rural practices."
He was also quoted, though it seems likely this statement was created by a committee, that, "This decision was not made lightly, and reflects the changing landscape and challenges facing rural health care nationwide."
Waukon, which hosts the Allamakee County Fair, recorded a population of 3,897 in 2010.