Hospital

Construction continues on the renovation of the emergency department at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato. But parts of it may be put on hold if state inspectors, idled by the state government shutdown, can’t sign off on concrete and electrical work that needs state approval.

Add the Mankato hospital’s various expansion and construction projects to the list of ways most people wouldn’t have thought would be affected by the state government shutdown.

Kevin Burns, a spokesman for Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, said the hospital’s $29.5 million renovation of its emergency room needs state inspectors to review concrete and rebar, and Department of Health inspectors need to review expansion plans for the hospital’s specialty clinic and heart center.

Department of Labor and Industry inspectors were supposed to be in early this week inspect concrete work. And next week, state electrical inspectors were slated to walk through and inspect all the wiring installed so far.

“It does reach a point where we cannot work on that particular aspect of the project until those inspectors give us clearance,” Burns said. “There is other work going on in that project, but we may get to a point where the lack of these inspections will force delays in other aspects of the project that had not been affected so far.”

It’s now been eight days since the government shut down. The Republican-controlled Legislature and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton remain at an impasse over how to proceed with a new budget. Republicans  want to hold spending to whatever revenue is brought in. Dayton and Democrats want to increase revenue by raising income taxes on Minnesotans earning more than $1million annually.

Mayo broke ground in 2010 on the Mankato campus emergency department expansion that will double the existing space, produce more jobs and enhance the patient-care experience.

In the new facility, patients will have individual rooms with bathrooms. It will also include family sitting rooms, better accommodation for mental health cases and space for future expansion of perioperative service — the time extending from when surgery patients enter the hospital to when they are discharged.

The existing facility was built for 18,000 patient visits a year. In 2009, the emergency department accommodated 27,000 visits with 35,000 expected annually by 2019.

The project is slated for completion in December of 2011 — or at least that was the case before the government was shut down.

At last check, the two sides did not appear to be close to resolving the impasse.

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