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By Steve Kawnowski, Associated Press Writer, Published June 18 2009

Mayo Clinic to add mall outpost

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The Mayo Clinic is coming to the Mall of America.

Mayo officials announced plans Wednesday to open an outpost at the megamall to help reach new patients from across the region, the country and the world, and to serve existing patients better.

The Mayo Clinic Gateway at the Mall of America is little more than a set of concepts at this point. While most details remain to be decided over the next 12 months, the officials said it likely won’t provide primary care and it will complement rather than replicate the services offered by the Rochester-based clinic.

Mayo’s chief executive, Dr. Glenn Forbes, said it will serve as an “another front door” for the world-famous clinic and as a “platform of innovation” for finding better ways to deliver health care.

“This is an opportunity for Minnesota, Mayo Clinic and the Mall of America to skate to where the puck is going to be, rather than where the puck is,” said Dr. David Herman, who’s leading the project, using the analogy in honor of Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a hockey fan and player who attended the news conference.

Herman said initial concepts that might be part of the facility include new programs for screening and prevention, services for new and returning Mayo Clinic patients and educational opportunities. They might help patients design personal prevention plans; help patients with access to Mayo services such as transplants, appointments and logistics; and offer programs to serve patients from other states and other countries.

The facility will be part of mall’s Phase II development. Forbes and Herman said they don’t know yet when it will start serving patients.

Pawlenty said the project will require no additional public money beyond a package he signed two sessions ago for funding parking ramps at the mall’s Phase II development, just north of the existing mall.

Plans for Phase II include hotels, a water park, entertainment venues, movie theaters, cultural exhibit space and new retail stores such as a Bass Pro Shops store, said Maureen Bausch, the mall’s executive vice president of business development. Construction on a 500-room Marriott hotel will start just after the first of the year, she said. Timetables for the rest of the development have not been announced.

Bausch said the Mall of America, with more than 500 retailers and other attractions, draws 40 million visitors a year from around the world. Forbes said the demographics of its customers, and the places they come from, are very close to those of the Mayo Clinic’s patients.