ST. JOSEPH — A St. Joseph-based hospital group has announced a new arrangement that will allow its patients to get consultations from doctors at the renowned Mayo Clinic.
Heartland Health said Wednesday it is becoming part of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, which will mean that patients at Heartland's primary hospital or any of its clinics will be able to receive second opinions or consultations from doctors at the Mayo clinic in Rochester, Minn., The Kansas City Star reported.
The second opinions and consultations will be at no added cost and will be handled through the electronic transfer of hospital charts and records.
David Hayes, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, said the arrangement allows Mayo to move into the region.
"It allows us to extend our brand and our reach," Hayes said. "And it allows us to extend it with organizations we are comfortable with."
Heartland's primary hospital is Heartland Regional Medical Center, located in St. Joseph about 50 miles north of Kansas City. Heartland is paying Mayo an undisclosed amount to be part of its network.
Mayo signed its first outside hospital system, in Grand Forks, N.D., to its network in September 2011 and has since added two in Arizona and one in St. Cloud, Minn. Mayo has said more such arrangements are expected to be announced.
Mark Laney, Heartland's president and CEO, said he expects patients to benefit from the arrangement.
"This membership will give patients the benefit of Mayo Clinic expertise right here at Heartland," Laney said.