KENYON — With its primary care clinic closed – seemingly for good – the Kenyon City Council talked Tuesday, Nov. 10, with representatives of Mayo Clinic Health System about the future of Mayo in the city.

"MCHS has made the difficult decision not to renew leases in Blooming Prairie and Kenyon in Southeast Minnesota," wrote Dr. Jason Wray-Raabolle, chairman of Mayo Clinic Health System's primary care units for Owatonna and Faribault.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, the clinics in Blooming Prairie and Kenyon were open one and two days a week, respectively. However, both clinics have been closed since mid-March because of COVID-19, and will remain closed.

MCHS's leases for its clinic offices expire at the end of 2020, and MCHS will not renew those leases.

"The reason we requested they come and talk to us is to find out why they weren’t going to reopen and find out what services they could bring to our community," City Administrator Mark Vahlsing SAID.

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During Tuesday's virtual meeting, Wray-Raabolle said that in addition to several virtual health options such as telemedicine, Mayo was considering in-person options for Kenyon such as mobile clinics, which would visit the city several days each week, or community paramedics who would check vitals on patients in Kenyon rather than forcing them to go to another town to be checked.

Wray-Raabolle said while telemedicine options are becoming more prevalent, patients still need tests conducted and other in-person procedures performed. The options for Kenyon might include having a nurse who conducts basic tests and passes that information on to a doctor through a video chat.

Interim Mayor Richard Nielsen said Mayo has been slowly reducing services in Kenyon for three-plus years, and he wants to know whether the clinic in Kenyon was profitable or not for Mayo.

"We have been led on now for a number of years," Nielsen said. "There are other providers. I’d like to know by the first of the year so we can get on with you people or move on with someone else."

Wray-Raabolle said getting an answer within six weeks was unlikely.

Vahlsing said the city will likely reach out to other health care provider networks to see what options it might find. While Mayo Clinic Health System has clinics in Cannon Falls, Faribault, Red Wing, Lake City and Zumbrota, there are other health care organizations nearby. Olmsted Medical Center operates clinics in Wanamingo, Pine Island and Cannon Falls. Also, Northfield Hospital runs several clinics in the area.