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02/06/2010

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

Here's a question I hear fairly often.  How long does it take to get an appointment at Mayo Clinic? 

The answer, as often happens in life, is dependent upon many variables.  For example, how quickly can you get to Rochester, Minnesota?

If you want an appointment at Mayo in Rochester, it is possible.  But you'll have to have "a Mayo Clinic number."  That's one of the most-essential steps in getting treatment at Mayo. 

"No two patient visits are exactly alike," the clinic says online. "The length of your stay will depend on the number of tests and consultations you need, based on your initial evaluation and recommended care. Typically, an evaluation requires four working days to complete but in many cases may take considerably longer if extensive testing or special consultations are necessary."

Once you've got a Mayo number, things will move a lot more quickly.  So it helps to get that number early in life — by getting a doctor.  

However, the clinic can be made to move mountains, so to speak, if there's an urgent need.  So if you're really sick and need a diagnosis, especially if you've been struggling to find answers, getting into Mayo is still possible. 

Mayo in Rochester has an emergency room at Saint Marys Hospital and if your illness is serious enough for emergency service, you won't have to worry much about whether you've got a clinic number or not.  They'll assign you one.

But if you've got a less-urgent need, say something related to a chronic illness or a need for some type of specialized surgery, you'll need to request an appointment.  And that might take some time.  It all depends upon how rapidly your condition requires treatment.  

You might be surprised how quickly you can be seen, especially now that Mayo is working to focus even more on consumer-friendly options.

If you're not able to travel by car, Mayo provides air ambulance service.  But you'll have to time things depending upon need, when you're able to leave and when services are available. 

The best advice from an outsider's perspective, especially if you're struggling to find help, is to ask the clinic itself.  Often, you can get an appointment scheduled almost right away, depending, once again, upon the urgency of your situation.

Click here for more information or call the Appointment Information Desk at 507-538-3270.

Pulse on Health

By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists

Health Reporter for the Post-Bulletin newspaper, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 

Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel

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