JAY clinic keeps costs down, comfort level up

Health care site opens in Rochester

By Jeffrey Pieters

Bigger is not always the better consumer choice, which is why Sandra Anderson of Rochester went not to a traditional doctor’s office but to her city’s new walk-in clinic, the JAY Clinic, for a recent cholesterol test.

For $40 — or less than one-half of the cost for which some larger providers offer the service — Anderson had her results in one day. She picked them up and walked out of the office smiling.


"It’s an easy, simple way of doing it (receiving health care)," she said.

Anderson has visited similar kinds of walk-in clinics before, on visits to the Phoenix area. But for those whose eyes and ears have been tended to only in larger, more specialized centers, the JAY Clinic, a two-month-old, one-man shop headed by nurse practitioner Jay Fotland, might look and sound strange.

After all, it’s among the first of its kind in Rochester. But there are several dozen similar clinics in locations scattered around the Twin Cities — many of them in grocery or department stores — and hundreds more nationwide.

Those clinics, like Fotland’s, offer immediate, appointment-free care for a variety of common ailments — everything from sore throats and the flu to burns and rashes to annual physicals.

Set against the specialization of our age, these simple clinics are in essence refilling the role of the traveling country doctor, a generalist equipped with a stethoscope and whatever other tools might fit in his black satchel.

In fact, it’s the image of the "small-town clinic" that Fotland says he hopes to re-create for visitors to his office, at 3257 19th St. N.W. , in the Highlands office park, one block west of the Rochester Athletic Club.

"I think people need to come in and feel comfortable, and know that we really do care about them," Fotland said.

Every inch of the clinic, which Fotland co-owns and manages with his wife, Deb, seems to have been planned with patient comfort — even enjoyment — in mind. It starts with the spacious, tasteful lobby and extends even beyond the four patient examination rooms, outside of which Fotland spread corn kernels to attract wildlife, for patients’ visual interest.


The service-first approach is summed up in the clinic’s name, which on one hand is a first-name reference to Fotland, a salt-and-pepper-haired 51-year-old who’s seen patients at Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center for the last 14 years. It’s also partly an acronym, standing for "Just About You."

From his experiences, Fotland said, he saw the need for a local clinic that’s convenient, affordable and service-oriented.

Getting seen at JAY Clinic is a snap. Stop in, and chances are good you can be seen right away. Or call ahead, just to be sure.

It’s a short walk — just 20 steps or so — from your car to the receptionist’s desk, and only another dozen steps from there to the nearest exam room.

Thanks to low overhead costs, JAY Clinic’s prices are one-third to one-half the prevailing rates charged by traditional medical clinics, Fotland said. Most insurance companies are willing to reimburse for those bills, but Fotland relies on the patients themselves to submit the paperwork. It’s part of holding down overhead.

"The hardest thing to do was just keep is as simple as we can," Fotland said. "Try to keep insurance companies out, government out, and just allow us to have the patient decide how much they want to spend and where they want to go."

"I’ve always been sensitive about the cost of health care, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m doing it," he said.

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