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Mediation Could End Dispute Over Hospital

Monday, November, 6, 2017

The plans to remove inpatient and obstetrics services from the Mayo Clinic’s hospital in Albert Lea and move them to another hospital in Austin is creating a problem for area residents.   Both sides of the dispute are now headed to a “mediation-like process” to resolve the issue.   The process is called “facilitated dialogue” and will hopefully resolve the tension concerning the southern Minnesota hospitals. 

City leaders and officials from the Mayo Clinic are praising the decision to participate in the mediation. 


The dispute has been ongoing for months.   Now, both sides will sit down with retired Judge David Minge to discuss the issue together.   Minge will not make a decision, but like typical mediations, will oversee the discussion and help both sides come to a mutually beneficial agreement. 


Those familiar with the situation believe the talks are absolutely necessary at this point.   Thus far, neither side has been willing to relent, and the problem appears to be escalating, not heading toward a resolution.   The city believes Mayo has failed to communicate about the issue, which has led to criticism and anger. 


US House Representative Tim Walz was the first to suggest mediation.   Walz had previously set up mediation to resolve a dispute at the St. Cloud Veterans Affairs Medical Center.  


There is also hope that Judge Minge’s involvement will be helpful because he is known as a clear thinker and someone with a “steady hand”.


Both Mayo and Albert Lea are expressing hope that the mediation could lead to a resolution.