While Gundersen Lutheran prepares to close its Ossian clinic, citizens there are trying to bring another one to town.
The Ossian Crown Club recently announced it will sponsor a petition to present to Winneshiek Medical Center asking hospital officials to consider opening an outreach clinic in Ossian.
The action comes following the announcement from Gundersen Lutheran that it will close its Ossian Clinic in March as the result of Dr. Ignatius Greene retiring.
Ossian Mayor Chuck Covell said he recently met with Gundersen officials who indicated Gundersen was considering closing the Ossian clinic.
"I asked if this had already been decided. They did not, at the time, say it was cast in stone," he said.
Covell said following that meeting, he was surprised to learn Gundersen had indeed decided to close the clinic. He and other area residents sent a number of letters to Gundersen asking to keep the clinic open.
"They didn't even acknowledge any of the letters we sent," he said.
Covell visited with Pam Buddenberg, co-president of the Ossian Crown Club, about the club sponsoring the petition.
"I guess the main thing is that we, as a town, are concerned. I don't think they (Gundersen) realize the draw it brings to our town. It's a huge draw which helps support our businesses. We feel like we'll be missing out," said Buddenberg.
"We have two schools and a hospice and we'll have no medical care in town. We feel we have the population and the need for it ... We also have buildings that are available that will hopefully work for them (WMC) if they decide to come look," she said.
Petitions have been placed at both banks in town, the Coop, Casey's, both hardware stores and Blooms on Main.
"I think we could easily get 1,000 signatures," said Buddenberg.
In response to the petition, WMC Chief Administrative Officer Gretchen Dahlen said, "We commend the community of Ossian for pulling together in support of local health care in their community. The petition by the Crown Club of Ossian asking WMC to consider opening a clinic in their town is a strong expression of the confidence they have in Winneshiek Medical Center and Mayo Clinic Health System as a community-based health system. It will take some time to see the request, evaluate the opportunity and ask our Board to weigh in on the investment. Nonetheless our hearts are with the people of Ossian."
Representatives from Gundersen Lutheran said, "While we greatly appreciate the opportunity to respond to the petition, at this point we don't have any comment."