Frequently asked questions

Why should I choose Mayo Clinic?

Mayo patients say that they appreciate Mayo Clinic for its highly efficient, high-quality care, and the very well-coordinated team of experts who offer answers not available elsewhere. They choose Mayo Clinic when they are looking for depth of medical knowledge and experience, cutting-edge technology, and the kindness and hope offered by Mayo staff.

Mayo Clinic provides comprehensive diagnosis and treatment by a team of experts representing virtually every specialty of medicine. In Rochester, Mayo Clinic includes Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus and Mayo Clinic Hospital, Methodist Campus. Mayo is consistently ranked among the best U.S. hospitals on the basis of quality measures in a number of specialty areas as well as large patient volume statistics. Our patients benefit from the convenience of an integrated care model, where all testing, answers and treatment are offered in a single location. There is no driving from location to location to undergo testing, specialty appointments, and, when needed, surgery and hospitalization.

At Mayo Clinic, quality and service are measured in many ways, including: the amount of time spent with each patient; ensuring each patient is treated with respect, kindness and dignity by every member of the Mayo team; making sure appointments are on time and that all test results and other patient information are available to every doctor, whenever needed.

Do I need to be seriously ill to seek care at Mayo Clinic?

You don't have to be seriously ill to seek care at Mayo. In fact, patients travel to Mayo Clinic from every state in the U.S. and more than 140 countries around the world to experience the wide range of specialty and multispecialty care that is available — from general exams to diagnosis and treatment for both common and highly complex medical conditions. The more than 1,700 physicians on the Rochester campus represent virtually all subspecialties of medicine.

Who goes to Mayo Clinic?

On average, more than 1,000 Des Moines area residents per year choose to become Mayo Clinic patients for the first time.

Why do Iowa area residents go to Mayo Clinic?

They know of Mayo's best-in-class reputation. They have researched quality ratings. They have heard and read stories about others' experiences. And they know that Mayo can provide diagnosis and treatment all under one roof in a condensed period, saving them time and stress because they don't have to go to a variety of different places over several weeks or months.

Is Mayo Clinic for everyone?

Although Mayo Clinic sometimes attracts attention for treating well-known people, the truth is that millions of people from all walks of life have been finding answers at Mayo Clinic for more than 100 years. People just like you go to Mayo to be treated for a wide variety of conditions including prostate cancer, breast cancer and epilepsy, as well as heart conditions and gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn's.

Will I need to make a separate trip for each specialist or test?

In many cases, Mayo patients can see a variety of specialists during a single visit — a significant benefit of choosing Mayo Clinic. To the extent possible, Mayo appointment staff will work to coordinate all your appointments in one visit.

How does the cost of care at Mayo Clinic compare to other providers?

Out-of-pocket expenses are typically determined by your insurance plan. In a recent survey of patients from several Midwest locations, most of them told us that their expenses for care at Mayo were the same as they would have been at other facilities.

Appointment requests/referrals

Do I need a referral to request an appointment?

Anyone may request an appointment at Mayo Clinic, and, in most cases, a physician's referral is not required. When you call or submit an online appointment request, Mayo appointment staff will advise you if a referral is needed.

How long does it take to get an appointment at Mayo Clinic?

Mayo Clinic offers appointments based on the severity and acuity of a patient's condition. Appointment coordinators do their best to build schedules that allow our staff to best meet the needs of patients.

Can I come to Mayo Clinic without an appointment?

Scheduling an appointment before traveling to Mayo Clinic is strongly encouraged. We can't guarantee that you'll be seen if you come without an appointment.

Day of appointment

How long can I expect to stay to complete my appointments?

The length of your appointment schedule depends on the number of tests and consultations needed for your condition. Sometimes, length of stay cannot be predicted in advance. Our processes and systems are designed to be highly efficient. Many of our patients tell us they are surprised by how quickly they can move from test to test and appointment to appointment. Mayo appointment staff schedule your appointments in the most efficient and convenient manner possible.

Will I be an inpatient or outpatient while at Mayo Clinic?

More than 80 percent of Mayo Clinic patients are treated as outpatients, meaning that their evaluation, tests and treatments are done in the clinic and they return to their home or lodging at the end of the day. Patients who require hospitalization are admitted to Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus, or Mayo Clinic Hospital, Methodist Campus, Mayo Clinic's hospitals in Rochester, Minn.

Are family members allowed to come to my appointments?

Relatives and friends are welcome and encouraged to accompany you at Mayo Clinic. For some exams and diagnostic tests, your family and friends may be asked to remain in the waiting room.

May I bring my children? Is child care offered?

Mayo Clinic does not offer child care for patients, but you are welcome to bring your children. Please bring a responsible person to watch your children during your appointments.

Medical records

Will I need to bring my medical records with me?

Mayo Clinic encourages patients to bring all recent, pertinent medical records, including:

  • Medical summary
  • X-ray films or a CD with radiology studies
  • Pathology slides and reports
  • List of current medications

If you are referred to Mayo Clinic by your physician, he or she will generally send your records ahead of time as directed by Mayo Clinic's Referring Physicians Service.

Can Mayo Clinic call my doctor's office to get my medical records?

Generally, our patients obtain their medical records from their local providers. If additional records are needed once you are here, Mayo Clinic may contact your provider. You will be asked to sign a consent form to release your records.


Will my insurance cover my visit to Mayo Clinic?

Mayo Clinic is an in-network provider for millions of people and works with many insurance companies. Insurance plans vary, and your level of coverage will depend on your specific plan. Mayo Clinic has agreements with multiple plans that have members who live in Iowa, including those listed below. If you don't see your plan listed, check with your provider.

Assurant Health
Avera Health Plans (by referral)
BlueCross BlueShield
CARE Provider Network
Coventry Healthcare of Iowa
Coventry Healthcare of Nebraska
First Choice of the Midwest
HIP Iowa (by referral)
Humana Choice Care
GEHA (Government Employee Hospital Association)
Great West Healthcare
Iowa Health System employee plan (by referral)
Midlands Choice /Principal Healthcare
Sanford Health Plan (by referral)
TLC Advantage
Wellmark BlueCross BlueShield of Iowa

Mayo Clinic will submit claims to your insurer. You are encouraged to contact your insurance company to verify coverage and obtain any needed authorization prior to your visit. Your insurance company's customer service number is typically listed on your insurance card.


Do you recommend any accommodations? Are discounts offered to Mayo Clinic patients?

Although Mayo Clinic does not own, operate or endorse any lodging facility, Rochester offers many choices for lodging. Many of the lodging options are directly connected to Mayo Clinic facilities via skyway or underground walkways. Hotels not connected to Mayo Clinic buildings often offer a shuttle service for patients, and some hotels offer special rates for Mayo patients.

In addition to hotels, the Ronald McDonald House is available to families of pediatric patients, and the Gift of Life Transplant House offers housing to organ transplant patients and Hope Lodge for cancer patients. For more lodging information, including availability of campground facilities, call the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-634-8277. Mayo Clinic does not own, operate or endorse any lodging facility.


When is Mayo Clinic open?

Mayo Clinic is open for outpatient consultations and procedures Monday through Friday. Mayo Clinic hospitals are open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.