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Mayo-Franciscan's downtown clinic aims to offer convenience with urban flair

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Mayo-Franciscan Belle Square clinic

Teresa Norman, a certified medical assistant at Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare, tests her computer Wednesday at the nurses and physicians station in Mayo-Franciscan’s new Belle Square clinic downtown. The clinic opens Thursday.

Downtown La Crosse workers who might need to squeeze in a sandwich and a shot — as in inoculation, not tequila — during a lunch break will be able to starting Thursday, the opening day of the Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare clinic in Belle Square.

The 6,500-square-foot clinic features primary care, acute care, laboratory testing and screening, radiology and immunizations, as well as counseling and wellness programs, said Brad Weber, Mayo-Franciscan’s primary care services operations administrator.

Many lab tests can be turned around in short order, said Weber, adding during an introductory tour of the facility Wednesday, “There is a lot we can process here. And what we can’t, we can send” to Mayo-Franciscan’s main La Crosse campus at 700 West Ave.

The radiology room will be able to provide general X-ray services, he said.

The clinic’s six examination rooms are easily more than twice as large as the ones at the La Crosse main clinic — partly because of the downtown clinic’s larger-than-expected footprint in Weber Holdings Inc.'s $68 million office-retail-residential complex, Weber said.

“The exam rooms are intentionally oversized,” he said. “We realized it would be more comfortable for the patients.”

The spacious nurses station area, featuring copious amounts of natural light from 18-foot windows along Third Street, also is the work station for physicians and other providers, he said.

“It’s a different model for health care,” with care teams that include family physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurses readily available in one space, Weber said.

“Dermatology also is a hot topic, and we eventually hope to have a dermatologist here,” he said.

The clinic’s Monday-through-Saturday staffing will be able to accommodate patients who have booked appointments as well as walk-ins, he said.

“The core focus in the downtown market is to get patients in and out” as a convenience to people who work downtown as well as those who live in that area, said Weber, who is administrator for seven other Mayo-Franciscan clinics in addition to the downtown location.

The procedure room is tailored for services such as stitches, mole removals and other basic operations, although setting broken bones are expected to be funneled to the West Avenue location, Weber said.

Two counseling rooms also will be available for behavioral health sessions and employee assistance programs, he said.

The facility, with pleasant light gray walls throughout and large color photographs of La Crosse sights, has an atmosphere unlike any other Mayo-Franciscan locations.

“We wanted a modern, urban feel to reflect what is happening in downtown La Crosse and the city’s revitalization,” the administrator said.

The clinic is just one of several health-related ventures anchoring in the 255,000-square-foot Belle Square, a complex bordered by Third and Fourth streets and State and Vine streets on property that used to be called Lot C, when it was a 2.3-acre county parking lot.

Gundersen Health System plans to lease just over 17,000 square feet of Belle Square office space for about 90 employees in its human resources, legal and related departments. It is expected to occupy the space by fall.

Onalaska-headquartered Cowgill Dental has a 4,000-square-foot office in the complex's southwest corner.

Logistics Health Inc. is expected to occupy 55,000 square feet for office space for about 500 LHI employees, probably in the fourth quarter of this year, LHI founder and Chairman Don Weber has said.


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