SPRINGFIELD, Minn. – After careful review of patient volumes, ongoing staffing issues and regulatory concerns, Mayo Clinic Health System has made the difficult decision to close its hospital and Emergency Department in Springfield, as well as its clinics in Springfield and Lamberton, effective March 1, 2020.
“Mayo Clinic Health System has been proud to have a presence in Springfield and Lamberton over the past 22 years,” says James Hebl, M.D., regional vice president of Mayo Clinic Health System. “This is not the outcome we wanted for our patients, our staff or the community, but it’s a decision that was necessary to make.”
For the past several years, Mayo Clinic Health System in Springfield has experienced several challenges, including an inability to recruit and retain physicians, declining hospital admissions and extremely low use of the Emergency Department. Despite robust efforts to implement a new care model in October 2018, many of those challenges remain, and the hospital and Emergency Department now face new concerns regarding future accreditation.
While a hospital and Emergency Department will no longer be operating in Springfield, another Minnesota health care organization has expressed serious interest in working with the Springfield community and city officials to establish outpatient clinic services for the area. More information will be shared as those discussions take place. Mayo Clinic Health System is committed to helping ensure a seamless transition should this new organization enter the community.
“Smaller communities across the country have experienced declining hospital admissions and low Emergency Department volumes, which makes maintaining hospital and Emergency Department coverage increasingly difficult,” says Dr. Hebl. “In addition, Mayo Clinic Health System in Springfield is one of eight hospitals within a 38-mile radius, which adds to the challenge of achieving adequate patient volumes in a sparsely populated area of the state. Because there are so many health care options within a small geographic region, we see most area patients seeking hospital and specialized care at facilities outside of Springfield and Mayo Clinic Health System already.”
So far in 2019, the Springfield hospital has admitted a total of nine inpatients and an additional 28 patients for overnight observation. The Emergency Department sees an average of three to four patients per day. Based on their diagnoses and severity of illness, most of the Emergency Department patients could have been treated in Urgent Care or a regular clinic, and the others could have been safely transferred to another facility.
Caring for so few patients makes it difficult for providers and staff to maintain competencies across a variety of disciplines to deliver high-quality care.
“In response to an ongoing physician shortage in Springfield, the new care model we developed in 2018 included using Emergency Department providers for hospital coverage as well. However, the skills required for each can be vastly different,” says Dr. Hebl. “We’ve learned that this approach to caring for hospitalized patients can be challenging, particularly with so few admissions.”
Meeting regulatory standards also has come into question. A recent review of Springfield hospital volumes and transfer data by the Mayo Clinic Accreditation team and the Joint Commission, a regulatory accreditation body, has resulted in concerns regarding reaccreditation in 2020.
The closure will affect approximately 60 employees. Mayo Clinic Health System will offer assistance to impacted staff to identify and apply for new positions at other Mayo Clinic sites. The Mayo Clinic Health System Human Resources team also provides assistance in preparing impacted staff for opportunities outside the organization.
“Mayo Clinic Health System is committed to serving Springfield and Lamberton patients at other Mayo Clinic Health System sites and through virtual care options, such as Patient Online Services, Express Care Online and Nurse Line,” says Dr. Hebl. “Mayo Clinic Health System is also exploring new and innovative ways to bring convenient, expert care to patients where they are through digital tools, reducing the need for travel and traditional office visits.”
Mayo Clinic Health System leaders will continue to meet with community and legislative leaders to answer questions and discuss transition plans over the next several weeks.
For more information, visit mayoclinichealthsystem.org/springfieldinfo.
Mayo Clinic Health System consists of clinics, hospitals and other facilities that serve the health care needs of people in more than 50 communities in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based providers, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive the highest-quality health care close to home.
Press ContactAmanda Dyslin