The Mayo Clinic, one of the most prestigious names in health care, is planning to open several retail clinics in early 2008.

Does this signal the beginning of an upper tier of retail clinic — where Nordstrom- or Neimans-meets-medicine?

At this early stage, Mayo’s plans are to locate the branded “Mayo Express Care” centers around their immediate target market of Rochester, Minnesota, which includes part of Wisconsin.

By implementing this plan, Mayo, known for its stellar inpatient services, expands its reach into community-based primary care role.

A competitive advantage with the Mayo plan is that patients who have previously been admitted to the Mayo Clinic will have their health records immediately available (electronically) at the Mayo Express Care sites. This promotes continuity-of-care and quality.
Fees are expected to range from $49 to $59, and all forms of insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare, will be accepted.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: The emerging retail clinic business has, thus far, played itself out as a national or regional phenomenon driven by drug and general retail chains. In Mayo, we see a new type of sponsor — a nationally-recognized health care brand that is stepping its toe first into its local health care geography. While nationally and internationally recognized, Mayo still seeks to consolidate its hometown base where other local hospitals have planted the flag in the retail clinic segment. The fact is that urgent care centers have been owned and operated by hospitals for over two decades. The Mayo retail clinic model, if successful on its home turf, could go into other regions of the U.S. that Mayo serves including Arizona and Florida. Mayo could go beyond these markets. A $59 urgent care visit at a brilliantly-branded clinic could fit the bill of many high-value health shoppers.