In 2004, a local health care system was expanding rapidly, adding doctors to handle the growing number of patients it was handling. So it turned to Winneshiek Medical Center to discuss construction of an addition to the hospital to house the clinic.
The month was June and the local health care system was Gundersen Clinic. Although relations between the hospital and Gundersen have worsened, at that time the hospital was ready to build the addition. It had saved $5 million in cash and had another $8.8 million in borrowing capacity.
So in June of 2004, hospital officials announced an agreement in principle with Gundersen Clinic that would have the hospital build the addition, then lease it back to Gundersen Clinic for $1/year plus market rental prices.
But the agreement never got put down on paper. The sticking point came over lab and radiology services. Gundersen wanted to provide those services in its own clinic, while Winneshiek Medical Center wanted Gundersen to use the hospital's facilities.
A short three months later, Gundersen announced it would build a new clinic away from the hospital campus and Winneshiek County Memorial Hospital signed an exclusive negotiating agreement with Mayo Health System.
In late October of 2004, Gundersen Clinic officials held a groundbreaking for a $10 million clinic off Highway 9 in Decorah.
In four short months, the hospital and Gundersen had gone from making an announcement that the hospital would build a new clinic for Gundersen to announcing that Gundersen would build a new clinic away from the hospital grounds.