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Mayo-Franciscan touts new facility tailored to Arcadia's needs

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ARCADIA, Wis. — The $4.5 million primary care clinic Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare plans to build south of town is tailored to the Arcadia area's needs, officials said.

"As we have designed it, this is not a clinic that comes out of the box," Dr. Bert Hodous, site leader for the clinic, said in an interview after the new clinic was announced at a press conference Wednesday. "We designed the clinic to look to the future and provide a higher standard of care.

The 12,500-square-foot clinic will replace Mayo-Franciscan's clinic at 464 St. Joseph Ave. S., adjacent to the former St. Joseph Hospital, which closed in 2011.

"It really delivers on the promise of Mayo for quality care," Hodous said. "We've had that aspiration in the past, but I don't think it always has existed, especially in rural areas."

Clinic services will include family medicine, lab, radiology, ultrasound and behavioral health.

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Many of the current staff are long-term providers for the clinic's 15,000 patients a year in the old facility, which dates to the mid-'80s, Hodous said.

"The staff we have is the most committed I've seen and worked with," Hodous said, adding, "We get to know our patients and sometimes care for three generations. This will be the same people, in different clothing."

They also will have more advanced tools and technology to treat patients who otherwise might have had to travel to Eau Claire, Rochester or La Crosse, which is a daunting trip for many, Hodous said.

"We will have the ability to bring specialists into the exam room with enhanced telemedicine," he said.

Arcadia Mayor John Kimmel welcomed the news, saying, "I think anytime you improve access to health care, especially in a rural area, it is great for us all."

The building project sends a signal of optimism for the city of nearly 3,000, Kimmel said, adding, "I'm happy they are reinvesting in Arcadia."

It also follows through on the promise the then-Franciscan-Skemp made to the region to maintain its presence and build a larger clinic when it closed St. Joseph.

"We are delighted to be able to renew our commitment to the people of the Arcadia area who have entrusted us with their care," said Eric Erickson, Mayo-Franciscan's primary care vice president.

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The new clinic will reflect the evolution of care to the team approach, Erickson said.

While patients now are shuffled throughout the clinic to confer with individual providers, the new facility will bring the providers to the patients, Erickson said.

"We are looking forward to offering more comfortable and efficient care for our patients," Hodous said.

Mayo-Franciscan spent $445,000 to buy about 12 acres of land on Hwy. 93 south of Arcadia for the clinic, which Erickson said includes traditional design facets of Mayo, as well as stylistic aspects tailored specifically for Arcadia.

The roof line mirrors that of the nearby former St. Joseph's Chapel, with cascading, rounded sections of the roof also intended to represent the hills around Arcadia, Erickson said.

The new clinic will feature an abundance of natural light and large exam rooms, said Tanner Holst, the facility's primary care administrator.

Groundbreaking and construction are slated for early fall, with completion projected for next summer. There are no plans to divest the former hospital/clinic campus, officials said.

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