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New Albert Lea healthcare provider shares plans with community

ALBERT LEA, Minn. (FOX 47) – Saturday, Albert Lea’s newest healthcare provider held an open house for the public. MercyOne showed the community what their new facility might look like.

The old Herberger’s location in Northbridge Mall will soon have a new occupant. MercyOne Medical Group plans to bring services to Albert Lea and this week they have built a life size replica of the new facility’s layout plan.

“We see what works and what doesn’t. When something doesn’t work, we tear it down and start again,”said MercyOne North Iowa vice-president Teresa Mock. “We rebuild it until we get it to the way we think it will be the best.”

The replica allows MercyOne employees to simulate patient care scenarios to make sure the design works. It took successful elements from other locations which include separate hallways for staff and patients.

“Because of that, the patients never have to go by the area where the nurses and doctors are working,” Mock said. “They don’t see the clutter or hear the noise from that.”

People were able to tour the layout and give their feedback. The Albert Lea Healthcare Coalition, who owns the building, says the addition of services depends on one thing.

“Patient load. If our community really gets behind this and supports it, we’ll keep growing all the time,” said Al Arends of Albert Lea Healthcare Coalition.

In addition to getting a tour of the new facility, visitors were able to get pictures of themselves to be added to an artwork mosaic to be featured in the new facility.

“Very excited and after seeing the layout here, it’s wonderful,” said Albert Lea resident Sandra Hanson.

People also could purchase a square foot of the building to help with the costs of converting the department store into a health clinic.

“I am,” Hanson said. “I encourage everybody to.”

While the building of a full-service rural hospital might take time and several stages, Arends says the end result is worth the effort.

“It’s to bring back services that we’ve lost and it’s also to lower our costs,” Arends said. “We’re showing them another way to provide healthcare. Mercy has been a terrific partner.”

The Albert Lea Healthcare Coalition hopes the first stage of the project can begin construction in early 2020 — to be ready for use by July.

Alex Tejada

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