SPRINGFIELD -- The Mayo Clinic is closing a hospital and several clinics in southwest Minnesota, blaming a lack of patients and doctors.

The closure of the hospital, ER and clinics in Springfield plus clinics in nearby Lamberton reflects the financial challenges faced by rural health care facilities statewide.

Mayo said this week that about 60 employees will be affected by the closures.

The Springfield hospital has admitted nine inpatients in addition to 28 patients for overnight observation this year and that the ER has treated a daily average of three to four patients.