Mayo aims to keep healthcare in rural communities with mobile health clinic

Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 5:21 PM CDT
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KENYON, Minn. (KTTC) – Mayo Clinic is working to make sure healthcare stays in rural communities by offering a mobile doctors office for patients.

The Mayo Clinic Health System Mobile Health Clinic has been on the road for about a year now and makes stops in four small towns across southern Minnesota, including Kenyon and Blooming Prairie. The mobile clinic is pretty interesting to check out. Picture one of those big RV’s where the inside has been converted into a doctors office on wheels.

Mayo Clinic Health System Mobile Health Clinic
Mayo Clinic Health System Mobile Health Clinic(KTTC)

You can make an appointment for just about anything you or your family would typically have done during a visit with your primary physician.

“It’s very, very, very convenient because I live in this town,” patient Mary Dalbotten said.

“It’s very convenient. I see a lot of elderly people coming here,” patient Rhana Olson said. “I walk my dog by here all the time to so I see that they are here and they’ve got people coming. So, I’m really happy to have it so visible.”

The mobile clinic, or “Big Blue” as it’s known, makes stops in Butterfield, Sherburn, Kenyon, and Blooming Prairie, where brick and mortar clinics use to be.

“We deliberately tried to backstop and make sure we’re continuing care in these communities that need care,” Mayo Clinic Health System SE Minnesota Regional Vice President Dr. Robert Albright said. “And we at Mayo Clinic are very serious about making sure that we continue to foster a network that really supports our patients.”

“Big Blue” has been on the road for about a year and has traveled more than 17,000 miles and served 2,000 patients.

“The way we sort it out is two weeks a month for four days we take the mobile clinic southeast Minnesota and the other two weeks the mobile clinic goes west,” Albright said.

“I use to practice in Blooming Prairie prior to the pandemic at the brick and mortar site and actually here on the mobile health clinic I can do more and offer more for my patients than I was able to offer previously,” Mayo Clinic Health System Family Nurse Practitioner Lynsi Romportl said.

Romportl says seeing patients on the mobile clinic is just like being in a normal doctors office, except it’s on wheels.

Exam room on Mobile Health Clinic
Exam room on Mobile Health Clinic(KTTC)

“We offer, really, the full spectrum of primary care,” Romportl said. “So well-child visits, physicals, sports physicals, immunizations, COVID vaccines, acute office visits like ear pain, rashes. I do a lot of chronic disease management, so hypertension and diabetes care.”

Growing up in a small town herself, Romportl knows first hand the importance of keeping healthcare services in rural communities.

“I’m invested in rural medicine and I think it helps people to know that this person, this provider, this care teams, they know the kind of struggles that we might have getting access to care somewhere in a larger community and they’re really invested in our well being,” Romportl said.

On the bus you will find a desk operations specialist to check you in for your appointment, a LPN, and the medical provider in addition to a certified driver.

In the future, the mobile health clinic team hopes to be able to expand access by offering care on additional days of the week or be able to visit more communities, which could mean the addition of another mobile clinic.

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