By Robb Murray
---- — Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato is hoping the relocation of its pediatric department will better serve its patients by putting its doctors closer to where babies come from.
Pediatrics recently completed the move from MCHS's Eastridge clinic to the main hospital location just off Marsh Street in Mankato. They'll be housed in the hospital's basement near its OBGYN department.
The move, they say, puts two departments together that should be working closely anyway.
Under the old system — with Dr. Shabbir Khambaty initially alone offering pediatric services and later joined by other pediatricians — those doctors had to travel from Eastridge to the hospital several times daily to see patients.
When it was Khambaty alone, it was hard on the MCHS pediatric department. It's gotten a little easier now that they've added more physicians, but it's still smarter to move the department, they said.
"It just makes sense," Khambaty said of the move to the hospital campus. "The people we interact with, the people we work with all the time, they are based here in the building."
Discussions about moving the pediatrics department began about three years ago, Khambaty said. Now, in the last few weeks, they've actually made the move. Relocation included some renovation to their new area near OBGYN along with some remodeling of OBGYN.
Khambaty said the driving back and forth caused some concern from patients, and caused them to re-evaluate their pediatric care model.
"That 10 minutes or 12 minutes it takes me to drive here, is that a good practice?" he said. "That distance did not really work."
He said pediatrics was missing the interaction with OBGYN. Before, if a question came up in an OBGYN room that could benefit from a pediatrician, it would take some schedule coordinating to get that pediatrician's input. Now, Khambaty and the other pediatricians are just down the hall.
Khambaty said he's already heard from patients who prefer the new setting. One positive is that the rooms have much better insulation for sound.
"If a kid is screaming two rooms away, you don't hear that too much," he said. It can be difficult, he said, to get a reluctant child OK with getting a shot when the child hears the screams of another down the hall.
The only issue Khambaty sees being located on the main MCHS campus is parking. Other than that, he says the switch will be a good one for all his patients.