From cozy to comforting

Published 10:54 am Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Andrew Flamm, a physician's assistant, poses for a photo at the newly-remodeled Express Care at Hy-Vee. -- Kari Langan/Albert Lea Tribune

By Kari Langan,

Mayo Clinic Health System Express Care at Hy-Vee has been remodeled after staff heard customer complaints about its small size and lack of privacy.

Customer interest in the clinic grew since it opened in 2006, which brought awareness to numerous concerns based on privacy. Clinic staff wanted to appease customers by revamping the entire clinic, including the waiting and examination rooms. An open house was held Saturday for the public to view the remodel.

Mayo Clinic Health System's Express Care at Hy-Vee has been remodeled, including the waiting area shown above. An open house was held Saturday.

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Customers will now see an extended and spacious examination room at the clinic. Andrew Flamm, a physician assistant with the Albert Lea health care system, said he’s one of many medical professionals who will staff the clinic.

“I have so much room,” Flamm. “I do not know what to do with myself.”

Staff at the clinic encompass the duties of a primary care physician, lab tech and follow-up scheduler. Flamm grew accustomed to a tight, jack-of-all-trades exam room during his work at the Express Clinic before the new remodel. The exam room and lab were designed to be within the same floor plan creating a crowded and congested area.

The claustrophobic nature of the exam room dissatisfied customers. Through surveys, customers said they would like a larger exam room. After closing the clinic for three weeks, it reopened with a larger floor plan and more accommodations for customers.

“There have been times the waiting room had a line out the front,” said Rita Moyer, operations manager of Express Care.

Moyer said the clinic was often busy. It was also receiving good customer reviews — other than for privacy.

Now, a cozy, single line of chairs along a concrete wall has doubled in size. The walk-in waiting room features an enclosed, sit-down area including several rows of chairs and signage explaining services and fees.

The exam room is now larger with more amenities and offers more space than a standard clinic environment. The exam bed no longer rests inches from other medical testing equipment or the wall.

The expansion of Express Care coincides with the growing need for affordable care in the area, Moyer said. In fact, the clinic has seen a steady clientele since it opened in 2006. Flamm, along with other providers, diagnose and treat common ailments at the clinic.

Business hours for Express Care are from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“Customers have an expected wait time of 15 to 20 minutes,” said Flamm. “At times, the clinic is busy.”

Express Care’s average customer pays half the cost per visit compared to a visit to Urgent Care. Because of the connection with Mayo Clinic, patients have the option to have follow-up appointments and preventative care through other providers in Mayo’s system.