Takeaways from a Great SMPS-Twin Cities Program on October 2


  • Doug Holtan, Facilities Vice Chair, Coordination/Campus Planning, Mayo Clinic
  • Frank Emsick, Director, Construction Project Management, Catholic Health Initiatives
  • Bill Igel, Vice President, JE Dunn (Moderator)

It’s not often that A/E/C professionals get such great insights of facilities executives from two leading national health care organizations! It was interesting to see the contrast in each system’s focus. Mayo Clinic is rooted in maintaining their position as an international leader not only in care, but also the education and research that builds their patient population of the future. Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) is very much about volume, acquisitions, consolidation, efficiency, and spreading best practices throughout their national network.

Common Themes

While Mayo Clinic and Catholic Health Initiatives have differences, they also have much in common that would apply to many health systems:

  • They are constantly looking for ways to find efficiencies, including recommissioning buildings for greater energy savings, staff reductions, and new Lean-designed buildings with smaller footprints.
  • The uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act has not fundamentally changed master plan strategies – each organization continues to aggressively pursue core objectives while always looking to be as streamlined as possible. This gives them the flexibility to deal with whatever the future may bring.
  • The AEC industry can best help health care organizations by knowing their culture and operations “even better than the clinicians,” as Frank Emsick put it. They expect transformative ideas and approaches, resulting in Lean facilities that function well over a long period of time.
  • Both Mayo Clinic and CHI have regional medical center hubs, to which satellite community facilities can refer more acute patients. In turn, the community care facilities provide convenient and high quality services close to patients’ homes.

Interesting Tidbits

  • CHI is focusing on ambulatory services and increasing employed physicians through acquisitions. They empoy the "Walgreens method" of making outpatient care more convenient by building compact multi-specialty MOBs of 10-15 physicians in many communities.
  • As aging baby boomers have more acute health care issues, Emsick predicts that there will be a swing back to demand for inpatient beds in about 10 years.
  • Mayo Clinic’s “here, there, everywhere” philosophy – education and wellness initiatives reach young and healthy people; when they get older and need medical care, they come back to Mayo Clinic.
  • Mayo Clinic is focused right now on lab processing, partnering with industry, and reducing administrative space through innovative workplaces. Clinical focus is on tertiary/subspecialty services such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer.
  • The story behind Mayo Clinic’s “Destination Medical Center” initiative – to be competitive internationally with others such as Johns Hopkins and Cleveland Clinic, the area around the main campus needs to become more appealing. The City of Rochester will use Minnesota state funding to develop a more livable city, including venues for health/wellness, recreation, retail/entertainment, and hospitality.
  • Comprehensive wellness programs are gaining traction. Mayo Clinic continues to develop its own wellness assessment and education programs, while CHI may approach this through partnering with other (non-health care) organizations.

Contacts for Outreach

  • CHI: There is no formal system for submitting qualifications. Contact Kent Garmin via email at [email protected]. Be sure to identify any specialized markets for your firm. Feel free to contact local networks, but keep national informed.
  • Mayo Clinic: Contact Doug Holtan via email at [email protected]. He will distribute messages to the best person among his team of 120 A/E project and construction managers.

Danielle Hilmo, Marketing Coordinator and Associate, BWBR


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