The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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March 31, 2014

Health providers holding down costs while better coordinating care

Health providers holding down costs while better coordinating care

(Continued)

Clinic’s expansion underway

The biggest project since Mankato Clinic built its Wickersham Campus several years ago is under way as a $9 million pediatric center is going up there with an opening set for late fall.

Part of the pediatric clinic will include space for Gillette Children’s Health Center as part of an expanded partnership between Mankato Clinic and Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul.

“We’ll be able to offer not only general care but sub-specialized pediatric care through Gillette,” Farrow said. “They will offer things like pediatric cardiology, urology, endocrinology.

“Kids have special needs because their organs aren’t fully developed and these physicians have the specialization. It will be a significant expansion of what we can do.”

He said things such as having specialists on hand to adjust braces for special needs kids will be a big help for parents. “A lot of times the braces need to be adjusted once or twice a month, and they won’t have to go to the Cities or somewhere else.”

Farrow said that as part of their effort to improve care, the clinic brings in focus groups, including one that was made up of parents of pediatric patients.

“A lot of the comments were that it’s not easy to come in from 8 to 5, so we’re offering evening hours now in pediatrics, Monday through Thursday,” he said.

“We’re putting a lot of emphasis on how we deliver care."

Another new approach is a return to house calls – sort of.

“We’re starting something we call Blue Stone, a program to provide primary care services on site for people who live in assisted-living facilities. Some of these folks are frail and it’s hard for them to be transported and some may have cognitive issues,” Farrow said.

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