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Mayo-Fairmont connects with public

Community Health Services of Faribault and Martin Counties is the recipient of the first Mayo Clinic Health System Outstanding Community Engagement Award. From left, Amy Long, administrator at Mayo-Fairmont; award winners Kathy Werner, Patti Kasper and Chera Sevcik; and Dr. James Hebl, vice president of Mayo’s southwest Minnesota region.

FAIRMONT — Mayo Clinic Health System-Fairmont held its third annual stakeholder breakfast forum Wednesday at Red Rock Center in Fairmont.

The event allows Mayo leadership the opportunity to connect with local business people, volunteers, educators, mental and physical health care providers, government officials and others.

Amy Long, administrator at Mayo-Fairmont, outlined key accomplishments over the last year on the local medical campus.

Transitioning from a call center model enabled patients to connect with someone locally, not out of town, when making an appointment. Opening Urgent Care at the clinic expanded services that previously were not offered at the walk-in clinic at Walmart. With equipment purchased from a Fairmont Community Hospital Foundation gift, the eye clinic now offers dry eye services, the only program of its kind in Mayo’s southwest Minnesota district.

Long also reported that new providers were added to the Fairmont Mayo staff in orthopedics, general surgery and urology, and recruitment continues for additional nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants. The medical center also will increase its sleep medicine services.

Gold Cross Ambulance Service, which has been owned by Mayo for more than 20 years, recently changed its name to Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service.

The opening of the new Lutz Cancer Center, located in the east wing of the hospital, is scheduled to open in August. An open house will be held so the community can view the numerous improvements incorporated into the area.

The hospital quality index rated the Fairmont hospital in the 86th percentile, taking into consideration the clinical outcome, patient safety measures and patient experience.

Long pointed out that much of the feedback she receives from patients and families includes the mention of teamwork. Whether it is the combined staff at Fairmont, Mankato and Rochester, the team from Fairmont’s Emergency Department or a surgeon and the operating room team, all efforts had a positive impact on the patient experience.

Dr. James Hebl, vice president of the Mayo’s southwest Minnesota region, called the health system “a large organization with local roots.” Since the Mayo Clinic was established in 1882, it has grown to include hospitals and clinics in more than 70 communities in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa, as well as clinics in Florida and Arizona. The southwest Minnesota region includes hospitals in Mankato, Fairmont, New Prague, Springfield, Waseca and St. James, as well as 22 clinics, 230 physicians, 130 nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants, and 3,680 staff members.

Improving the patient experience has become one of Mayo’s top priorities, Hebl said. Three years ago, Mayo was ranked in the 20th percentile nationally for patient experience.

“Now we are approaching the 80th percentile, and we want to break into the 90th,” he said. “From the comments we have been getting from our patients, we are making significant strides.”

Hebl described the three-tiered pyramid of care model that Mayo uses. The base of the pyramid represents primary and preventive care, like that which is done on the Fairmont campus.

“That is where 85 percent of health care happens,” he said.

The middle level features more specialists and offers a higher level of complex care, like that provided in Mankato. The top of the pyramid, the highest level and complexity of care, is like what is offered in Rochester.

He told of a St. James woman with a health issue who saw her primary care team in her home town, went to Mankato for more complex testing, had surgery in Rochester and returned home, all during a 10-day span.

“That’s how we ensure that the patient got the right care at the right place at the right time,” Hebl said.

Those attending discussed substance abuse and chronic disease and specifically mental health. Hebl said community resources such as half-way houses are lacking, which requires patients to be kept in the hospital until they are ready to go home.

“We don’t have that middle step,” Hebl said. “We need more of those transitional services. This is not just a Mankato or Fairmont issue.”

Long said a few people have been meeting to form a health care coalition but suggested broadening the scope and making the group a community coalition.

“We can do so much more to get together and share resources,” she said.

Mayo Clinic Health System presented a new award for outstanding community engagement to recognize community partners who make a significant contribution to the health of our communities. Community Health Services of Faribault and Martin Counties received the debut honor for its collaboration and partnership with the Baby Cafe and the community health needs assessment process.

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