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Mayo-Fairmont: It will cut 6 positions

FAIRMONT — Citing low usage on evenings and weekends, Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont has restructured its surgical services, resulting in the reduction of six positions.

Effective Jan. 2, the positions of four nurses, one health unit coordinator who handles scheduling and one sterile processing technician who prepares surgical equipment and supplies will be eliminated.

A press release Wednesday announcing the restructuring stated that so far this year, only one or two surgeries per week were performed after hours during the week or any time during the weekend.

General surgery will remain four days per week from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Emergency obstetrical surgeries, such as C-sections, will continue to be available at all times. Ear, nose and throat surgeries will be referred to the Mankato campus beginning Jan. 2.

One month ago, Fairmont Mayo announced it was cutting 17 jobs involving nursing staff in the facilities Progressive Care Unit, effective Dec. 9. The need to align staffing levels with the hospital’s average daily patient census was cited as the reason.

Dr. James Hebl, vice president of Mayo’s southwest region, which includes Fairmont, said health care organizations throughout the country are in a continual process to ensure that services provided and the resources deployed match current patient volume.

“Mayo Clinic Health System as well as other health care organizations across the United States are continually faced with ongoing challenges,” he said. “As a result, we are always in the mode of evaluating and assessing where we are at to ensure our resources are matching up with patient demand. It is not unique to Fairmont. Mayo Clinic Health System is doing this across the Midwest practice.”

Hebl offered assurances that patient care would not be affected by the layoffs.

“Mayo Clinic uses a staff modeling tool that is widely used across the United States, and it is a validated and accepted standard of ensuring that we have the right nursing staff based upon the patients and their medical conditions. It is a model that evaluates how many nurses we need for how many patients, based on how sick they are. We always staff to the level needed,” he said.

Staff that are impacted by the layoffs receive support from Mayo during the transition.

“A large percentage of them, I’m certain, have an opportunity elsewhere in the organization if they so choose,” Hebl said. “If they go outside the organization, we have resources that can assist them.”

Mayo’s Fairmont campus has undergone recent physical changes over the past year, and more are on the horizon. The Lutz Cancer Center recently opened in the east wing of the hospital, and Mayo is partnering with the Fairmont Community Hospital Foundation in renovating the remaining portion of that wing into a new cardiac rehabilitation center. The imaging area of the hospital was remodeled to accommodate new MRI and CT machines.

Amy Long, Fairmont Mayo administrator, estimates the upgrades resulted in an investment of between $4 million and $5 million, and that does not include the $4.5 million Emergency Department that opened in 2016.

Early next year, the partnership between Fairmont Mayo and Apple Tree Dental will be visible with the opening of a facility to cater to the unmet dental needs of area residents. The facility, which will be located in the west wing of the clinic, is being made possible by a $2.4 million five-year grant pledge from the Schmeeckle Foundation.

“We are committed to Fairmont and its surrounding communities, and we will continue to grow those aspects of the practice,” Hebl said. “However, across our entire region, we will be continuing to assess all of our sites and working on ways to better align our services with patient demand. Dramatic shifts in health care and how patients receive services are occurring across the United States which is why we have an obligation to be nimble and proactive so we can succeed in the future.”

Fairmont Mayo remains the city’s largest employer, drawing on the expertise of about 450 local medical professionals and support staff.

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