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Mankato Clinic to close Blue Earth site

By Staff | Jun 16, 2008

The Mankato Clinic will be closing its Blue Earth Medical Center by the end of August, it was announced this past week.

The Mankato Clinic is going to partner with the United Hospital District to continue to provide specialty care such as podiatry, urology, and ENT. However, their primary care staff will no longer operate in Blue Earth after August 29.

Dr. Kirk Odden will be moving his primary care practice to Lake Crystal, as part of the Mankato Clinic at Lake Crystal Family Practice.

Odden has been a physician in Blue Earth since 1984. The Mankato Clinic has operated their Blue Earth Clinic since 1994.

The other primary care provider, Physician’s Assistant Mary Lamusga, has not decided on her future position. “We have offered her several options,” Dr. Mark Matthias said. He is the Chief Medical Officer at the Mankato Clinic.

There are 13 total employees at the Blue Earth location, and Dr. Matthias said that they are trying to help them move into other positions within the Mankato Clinic system, or assist them in finding new positions locally.

The Mankato Clinic system has 110 physicians and medical practitioners located at eight clinics in six cities (including Blue Earth , Lake Crystal and St. Peter), and employs more than 700 people, according to a press release.

The Mankato Clinic has been leasing their Blue Earth Clinic space from United Hospital District. UHD Administrator Jeff Lange said that there are no immediate plans as to what the hospital will do with the space once Mankato Clinic moves out in August.

“It is no secret that we eventually want all of our operations on one campus site,” Lange said. “But no plans are in place at this time.”

One possibility for the site would be offices for some of the current doctors on staff at UHD. “We don’t really have enough space for their growing practices,” Lange said.

Both Lange and Matthias called the new partnership a “win-win” situation.

“With a shortage of primary care physicians, it is not a good time for primary care clinics to compete (for patients),” Matthias said.

“This will allow both of us to do what we do best,” Lange added. “We (UHD) will concentrate on the primary care, and Mankato will provide specialty care, at our facility,” he explained.

“For example, a patient will be able to be seen by a Mankato Clinic urologist in Blue Earth at the United Hospital District Campus,” Matthias said.

Lange said that Mankato Clinic may provide other specialty care in the future, such as oncology services. That would mean that patients receiving chemo-therapy would be able to do so in Blue Earth and not have to travel out of town.

Matthias said that all current clients of Mankato Clinic-Blue Earth Clinic will receive a letter later this week, apprising them of the situation and advising them on their options for primary care.

“Essentially they have three options,” Matthias said. “If they wish to continue to see Dr. Odden, they will need to go to our Lake Crystal Clinic. They can also begin seeing other medical practitioners in Blue Earth. Or they can opt to go elsewhere.”

Both Lange and Matthias said that patient well-being is the main priority, and they will work together to assure quality healthcare continues in Blue Earth.