AG Swanson won't sue Mayo over Albert Lea hospital shutdowns

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said she will not intervene legally in a controversial Mayo Clinic decision to close some services at its Albert Lea campus.

In a letter to Freeborn County Attorney David Walker, Swanson wrote that her office could not "file a lawsuit simply because a corporation that is abiding by the law undertakes an unpopular action."

Mayo's decision to close intensive care, inpatient and labor and delivery services in Albert Lea and consolidate them in Austin have caused an uproar in Albert Lea. Walker had asked Swanson for her views on the decision.

Swanson's office is assessing Mayo's answers to a list of questions about its decision to end some services in Albert Lea.

Swanson also wrote that her office stands ready to help Walker should the city of Albert Lea or the county settle on an alternative to Mayo's ownership of the hospital.

Mayo praised the Attorney General's decision, said spokesperson Ginger Plumbo.

"The attorney general's office has engaged in a thoughtful and thorough review of the issues raised by the Freeborn County attorney," Plumbo said, adding that Mayo will continue to work with the Albert Lea community as the transition begins.

A group of frustrated community members in Albert Lea are having an accountant assess the hospital's finances to see if it makes sense to recruit another owner to buy the hospital.

Mayo has maintained that the Albert Lea and Austin facilities have experienced $13 million in operating losses over the last two years, and that staffing both hospitals has been difficult.

Before you go...

MPR News is dedicated to bringing you clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives when we need it most. We rely on your help to do this. Your donation has the power to keep MPR News strong and accessible to all during this crisis and beyond.