Mayo Clinic is no longer the official voice of Destination Medical Center.

Minneapolis-based Himle Rapp & Co. now is fielding all questions about the $6 billion initiative as the DMC Economic Development Agency's public relations firm. Before Himle stepped into that role, Mayo Clinic staff handled all marketing and media requests about the initiative.

Himle Rapp is contracted to work through February for the EDA, which works with and handles the business agreements of the Destination Medical Center Corp., said Himle spokesman Nick Hanson.

The firm has been working with Mayo Clinic on the DMC initiative since 2011 and most recently as a subconsultant for Hammes Co., a Madison, Wis., consulting firm that has been working with Mayo since the inception of DMC several years ago and has a $2.3 million contract as the project manager for DMC.

"As the agreements between the EDA/DMCC were finalized, budgets set and scopes of work refined and Hammes transitioned the (Himle Rapp) contract to the EDA," Hanson says in an email. "Himle Rapp & Co. is not currently working for Mayo Clinic."

Mayo Clinic officials said moving DMC's communications away from the clinic is a natural step in the evolution of the initiative.

"The Economic Development Agency has always been a separate, independently functioning entity outside of Mayo Clinic," said Lisa Clarke, executive director of the EDA and secretary for the DMCC board of directors.

However, all of the business of DMC and EDA has been managed by Mayo Clinic personnel on Mayo Clinic's campus since the legislation passed in 2013.

"There was no way to immediately staff the EDA until the EDA and DMCC boards were functioning and the agreements were concluded that govern the complicated responsibilities and authority between the city and the state. It would be difficult to recruit staff to the EDA when the agreements and governance were not in place. Mayo Clinic has provided assistance in the interim," Clarke said.

The EDA is in the process of hiring permanent, full-time staff to run the day-to-day operations of DMC planning.

Mayo Clinic still has two employees on the EDA board: Clarke and Dr. Patricia Simmons. Bill George, a member of the Mayo Clinic board of trustees and former CEO of Medtronic, represents the clinic on the DMCC's board.

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