Mayo Health System
Historically, regional health care organizations have provided primary care and some specialty care services close to home, but referred patients to Mayo Clinic Rochester for highly specialized care. In fact, about half of Mayo Clinic Rochester patients come from a region of roughly 125 miles in any direction from Rochester.
In the early 1990s, Mayo Clinic Rochester began talks with local health care organizations about how it could work cooperatively with them to ensure that they could sustain and build their practices in their communities, and ensure that their patients continued to have access to Mayo. During this period, many health care systems were considering expansion of their presence in the region and acquiring smaller practices to channel patients into their systems. Smaller practices also were looking to affiliate with larger systems to secure their positions as the challenges of managed care, and particularly selective health care contracting, became a reality.
In the fall of 1991, a group of six family physicians in Decorah, Iowa, was considering a purchase offer from a medical center in La Crosse, Wis. Before they accepted, they also contacted Mayo Clinic to see if there was interest. In February 1992, the Decorah Clinic became the charter member of a new entity that as yet had no name. The first large medical center to join Mayo Health System was Luther Midelfort in Eau Claire, Wis., also in 1992.
Today, Mayo Health System encompasses more than 700 physicians and more than 11,600 allied health staff providing care in clinics, hospital and nursing homes in 64 communities throughout southern Minnesota, northern Iowa and western Wisconsin.
Patients receive the majority of their health care in their own communities, and they have improved access to the highly specialized services of Mayo Clinic. Mayo Health System has increased the number of patients referred to Mayo Clinic Rochester for specialized care. It also has dramatically boosted medical services for patients in this largely rural region and has infused local economies with new jobs and new spending. One leading health care economist called Mayo Health System the only successful regional health system in the country.