Mayo in Mankato unveils new diagnostic imaging department

Apr. 20—MANKATO — Mayo Clinic Health System leaders marked the grand opening of the health care provider's new diagnostic imaging department Tuesday at Madison East Center.

Outpatient diagnostic imaging services were previously mainly provided by Mayo in Mankato's hospital campus.

The new diagnostic imaging department represents a $16 million investment in the community, said Dr. James Hebl, regional vice president of Mayo Clinic Health System in southwest Minnesota.

"It'll allow Mayo Clinic Health System to accommodate both current and future patient demands, whether those patients need X-ray services, CT scanning, PET/CT scanning or MRI modalities," he said.

The move to a dedicated outpatient department at Madison East Center comes after the health system announced a $155 million hospital expansion plan in February, which would include adding 121 beds by early 2024.

"As we continue to grow the Mankato hospital campus and care for more and more patients there, it's becoming congested," Hebl said, "which is why the transition of the outpatient radiology teams and patients to this location is such an important part of our forward-looking strategy."

The space at Madison East has room for expansion. That flexibility, along with the location, factored into the decision-making on where the department would be, said Dr. Matthew Schaefer, radiology chair for the health system's southwest Minnesota region.

"We have extra space so that as our numbers go up and our number of patients that we see increases, we have the ability to grow," he said. "In this modern health care setting, you don't always have that option."

Apart from outpatient ultrasounds and inpatient radiology needs, which will remain on the hospital campus, the new department will handle most imaging for Mayo in Mankato patients. Imaging can often be needed before outpatient visits with surgeons or other physicians, along with after treatments to get an inside look at bones, muscles, nerves, tendons and other body parts.

X-rays and CT scans more so look into structural issues, said regional radiology director Jill VanEps during a tour of the department, while MRIs prove useful for looking into how muscles, organs and other body parts are functioning.

"We do see a wide variety of patients out here as far as what they're coming for," she said. "But most of our general X-ray population is from orthopedics."

The new department had its first patient Jan. 24 and services are ramping up now that a second MRI is up and running. The imaging systems in the department are considered on par or in some instances better than what's available in Rochester, said Dr. Matthew Callstrom, Mayo Clinic's Midwest radiology chair.

"We can meet the needs here just the same as we would in Rochester," he said. "The other thing here is these imaging systems are really ready for the next advances in imaging for patient care."

Dr. Prathibha Varkey, president of Mayo Clinic Health System, thanked the health system's southwest region and radiology leaders for their hard work and dedication on the project. Separating outpatient radiology from inpatient radiology at the hospital will help meet patient needs in a more efficient manner, she said, while the project also shows the health system is committed to Greater Mankato and the surrounding region.

"We look forward to continue to build upon our relationship with the communities we serve," she said.

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