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Jax Daily Record Friday, Mar. 5, 201012:00 PM EST

Meninak gets a peek at Mayo Clinic impact

by: David Chapman

by David Chapman

Staff Writer

Mayo Clinic Jacksonville is one of the area’s top medical resources, yet many area residents don’t grasp the full range of its $1.2 billion economic impact, contends its chief administrative officer. His goal is to take out the guesswork.

“A lot of people know about us, but a lot of people don’t always understand everything we’re about,” CAO Robert Brigham told members of the Meninak Club of Jacksonville Monday.

“When we can, we like to get out there and take some of the mystery out of it.”

Brigham updated the club Monday about Mayo’s history and its three-pronged approach to service through practice, education and research.

Brigham also told the club that Mayo Clinic Jacksonville is anticipating an $18 million expansion of its educational simulation center, where physicians, surgeons and medical students can practice their skills. Kevin Punsky, external communications director, said project details cannot be released until plans are closer to completion.

Mayo Clinic Jacksonville is one of three Mayo locations, along with Rochester, Minn., and Scottsdale, Ariz. Brigham said many people assume the Jacksonville clinic serves mainly international and other out-of-town patients, but 72 percent are from Northeast Florida.

Nine percent of patients are from elsewhere in the state, 17 percent from the rest of the United States and just 2 percent from outside the country, he said Since 1986, the clinic has served almost 550,000 patients.

Brigham said the impact extends beyond patients. The 214-bed clinic employs 4,914 people, including 374 physicians and scientists. It also is educating 285 students. “We are all about patient care,” he said.

Mayo has performed 3,200 organ transplants since 1998, he said, making the program one of the largest in the world. He said planned growth also includes the “House of Care” to provide extended-stay housing for organ transplant and cancer patients. He said Mayo is partnering with the nonprofit St. Andrew’s Lighthouse on the project.

The clinic also is a leader in treating cardiovascular disease and gastroenterology and features a comprehensive cancer center. It provides executive health-care services for companies such as Ford, General Motors, Motorola and Rubbermaid.

On the education and research side, Mayo Clinic conducts clinical studies in neuroscience and cancer research.

Meninak members asked how health-care reform would affect their insurance plan, a topic Brigham said is ever-present in community conversations.

“Everyone wants to know about their health plans and are concerned about health reform,” he said. “’How is it going to affect me?’”

Mayo Clinic’s health-care recommendations, according to its Health Policy Center, come in four parts: creating value, coordinating care, reforming the payment system and providing health insurance for all.

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