Mayo Clinic going to Mall of America

| June 24, 2009

My institution recently announced that it plans an outpost amid the roller coasters, restaurants and retailers as the Mall of America expands into a second phase.  At first glance I thought this would be a "retail clinic" within the large shopping center outside of Minneapolis but organizers have some different ideas that may be more beneficial overall to patients and providers.

I recently had an experience at a retail clinic I will write about in the future but think the exposure is positive for the clinic as another entry point for care that may could provide cost-effective health care, counseling, education or accomodate necessary referrals. 

Come to Minnesota for tax-free clothes and stay for your health care needs.  Will see what this will look likes as plans solidify and how health care providers closer to Minneapolis will respond.

Mayo officials said they haven't decided what services the site will offer, but said they could include diagnostic screenings, wellness counseling and other services that might direct patients to the home campus in Rochester.

"The Mall of America provides a tremendous opportunity to provide a gateway to services we provide and a platform for innovation," said Dr. Glenn Forbes, CEO of Mayo Clinic Rochester, adding: "It's not our intention to replicate what we're doing in Rochester."

The new facility might, for example, offer telemedicine consultations and organize logistics for international patients. But it will not offer routine primary care such as treating sore throats and broken bones.

At a news conference last Wednesday attended by Mall officials and Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Mayo executives said they plan to spend the next 12 months deciding the nature of the facility and the size of their investment. There is no opening date as yet.

Twin Cities hospital and clinic chains such as Allina, Fairview and Park Nicollet compete vigorously for patients in specialty care. Should they be worried?

"I would say a little bit," said Allan Baumgarten, an independent Twin Cities health care analyst. "Although most people have longstanding relationships with their doctors, we are going into a time when people are paying more and more out of their own pocket either because they have lost coverage or have high deductibles.

"This gives someone with a brand name like Mayo an opportunity to say 'Don't think of Mayo being 90 miles away. Think of Mayo as being at the Mall of America.' There's a portal there that could lead to the renowned Mayo Clinic."

Category: General Healthcare News

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