LEROY — Mayo Clinic Health System has announced that it will discontinue clinical service at its LeRoy facility. The decision was announced today and will go into effect Oct. 2.
Mayo attributes the closure to a "critical shortage of clinical staff" at the rural clinic, which was exacerbated by the resignations of two nurses earlier this year. The pharmacy, which is adjacent to the clinic, will remain open.
MCHS says it's been floating staff from its Austin hospital to maintain the LeRoy clinic. In a separate personnel decision, Alice Kaasa, LeRoy's certified nurse practitioner, has accepted a new job at Mayo's Austin campus.
"Our first priority is to ensure continuity of care for our patients," said Tricia Dahl, operations administrator at MCHS–Albert Lea and Austin. "Patients are being notified of our plans to discontinue primary care at the clinic, and we will work closely with patients and local leaders ensure a smooth transition for those who choose care at a nearby location, either at Mayo Clinic Health System in Adams or in Austin."
The timeline of LeRoy's closure matches up with MCHS's plans to consolidate services at its Albert Lea and Austin facility, which has served as a public flashpoint that has drawn intense criticism. However, LeRoy Mayor Brian Thiel says this move wasn't a surprise and hasn't prompted a public backlash.
"It's been generally known around town, but not officially," Thiel said, noting Mayo officials — including MCHS regional vice president Annie Sadosty — have met with LeRoy officials privately for weeks to discuss this possibility. "Our town is 900 people. If you know anything about small towns, word gets out real quick. There hasn't been any outcry here … but we realize that times change and we have to react."
Thiel said LeRoy already has some contingencies in place and is working to explore others. For example, two commuter buses travel to Rochester every day and may now be used to access Mayo's primary hospital. Additionally, Thiel is hopeful that telemedicine may be an option and that Mayo may use its LeRoy facility to get hands-on experience for interns or younger employees.
Mayo is also working to coordinate care that ensures senior citizens living at Wildwood Grove won't have to travel for routine medical care, Thiel said.
"We made a strong commitment to work together on alternatives for the residents of LeRoy and surrounding areas," Sadosty said via release.