The Mall of America is adding a walk-in medical clinic that will cater to everyone from workers injured on the job to power-shoppers with tummy troubles to travelers needing quick immunizations.
The new clinic, announced Tuesday by M Health Fairview, will be open seven days a week, starting in November, on the Bloomington mall's third floor east wing.
Leaders of M Health Fairview, the new name for the clinical partnership between Fairview Health Services and the University of Minnesota, said a mall clinic is a natural extension of efforts to make health care more convenient.
"This new clinic brings high quality health care much closer to people whether they are shopping, traveling or working at or near the Mall of America," said Laura Reed, Fairview's chief operating officer and nursing executive.
Services will include drug screening, travel health consultations and sports physicals, as well as basic medical care for acute problems, including travel-related sleep problems.
Medical facilities have been attempted at the mall before, including an on-site clinic when it opened in 1992, according to Mall of America spokesman Brett Burger. Mayo Clinic announced plans in 2009 for a storefront presence that would offer wellness programs and education and refer patients to its medical facilities in Rochester. That ultimately led to a Mayo-branded Healthy Living store that closed in 2013 after an 18-month run.
"Mall of America continually looks at what conveniences and services can be added to our roster of offerings," said Jill Renslow, the mall's senior vice president of business development and marketing, adding that the "clinic will provide yet another convenience that ... creates a one-stop hub" for the needs of shoppers, employees and tenants.
Some health care analysts have expressed concern about the growth of convenience care — whether online consultations or walk-in clinics in pharmacies and retailers — arguing that it could prevent primary care doctors from having a full picture of their patients' medical histories.
Fairview officials said the new clinic will be linked to their electronic medical record system, so its caregivers will have information on treatments that patients received at other locations in the system.
Dr. Badrinath Konety, chief clinical officer for M Health Fairview, likened the mall clinic to urgent care rather than a retail clinic, and said it will connect patients who have complex medical issues to specialists in the health system.
"It's a great way for people to connect with us," he said.