LA CRESCENT — Mayo Clinic announced Friday afternoon that it is closing its longtime care facility in La Crescent.
Mayo Clinic Health Systems plans to close the La Crescent clinic on Nov. 22 and "transition health care services" to its facilities in Caledonia as well as La Crosse and Onalaska, across the Mississippi River in Wisconsin.
The community, nicknamed the Apple Capital of Minnesota, has a population of about 5,000.
"This was a difficult and well-considered decision," said Michael Morrey, Mayo Clinic Health System Regional Chairman of Administration. The announcement was released at 6 p.m. "We are exploring ways that we can provide health care services more efficiently and effectively while being good stewards of our resources," Morrey added.
Patients of the La Crescent clinic will be contacted "… over the coming weeks to ensure that they can transition their care to another Mayo Clinic Health System location as easily as possible," according to the announcement.
Mayo Clinic Spokesman Ricky Thiesse elaborated on the decision by saying, "Having a smaller clinic so near to the larger campuses meant that limited resources are diverted to that one location. In addition, many patients need additional specialty care and other services that are offered in La Crosse or Onalaska, so they are already traveling for this care now."
Mayo Clinic has about 10 employees in La Crescent, including one physician and two "associate providers." The announcement included the statement that, "Mayo hopes that these staff members will remain with the organization."
The La Crescent clinic was built in 1978. It's website lists the services provided there as family medicine and mammography.
No officials at the La Crescent City Hall, La Crescent Chamber of Commerce or the Houston County Human Services were available on Friday afternoon to react to Mayo's plan to close the local clinic.
However, one person answering the phone at a La Crescent office responded to the news by saying incredulously, "Are you kidding me?"
Mayo Clinic declined to provide any patient information to show usage in La Crescent and if it has decreased in recent years.
"We consider our site volumes proprietary information and will report patient volumes and other statistics at an enterprise level," Thiesse said.
Mayo Clinic has reported treating 1.3 million patients each year at all of its sites combined from 2014 through 2018 with no increase or decrease.
This planned closure comes in the wake of Mayo Clinic's moves in recent years to end some services at other small Minnesota clinics in Albert Lea and Lake City.
"Mayo Clinic Health System has been a part of the La Crescent community for many years. We intend to maintain a vital presence in the future through improved access at nearby sites, digital platforms and other means," stated Morrey in Friday's announcement.