How to Be Seen at Mayo Clinic Without an Appointment
The ER & Appointment Myth
Various people stated the best way to get into Mayo Cinic without appointment is by waiting at the ER. THIS IS A MYTH WHICH COULD END UP COSTING YOU. First, the ER Mayo is where trauma cases from all over are flown in. This is huge to consider because unless you are a Flight-for-Life patient you should expect a very long wait. Cases go by priority first. You may have been there six hours but a trauma patient will always come before you.
Even if you are of a higher priority remember the ER is more of a 'bandage' than a cure. Their job is to take care of a medical urgency. This is how they work which is why it is near impossible to actually get an internal medicine appointment via this method.
The first step to Mayo Clinic is meeting with an internal medicine physician who will then make the arrangements to send you onwards. You are in the wrong building entirely. Leave the ER. Trust me. Merely getting my blood pressure checked in the ER cost my insurance over six hundred dollars. Best part? All the wait time, money, and frustration did not lead one step closer to getting into a doctor at Mayo Clinic.
Head to the Gonda Building
Transportation is easy at Mayo Clinic. You can take a shuttle bus from about anywhere to the GONDA building. Buses run every 15-20 minutes. Expect to be dropped off at the Gonda's entrance. The place is busy and can seem intimidating at first. Request help if you need wheelchair assistance (there are many to choose from). After entering, go straight, pass the elevators and you will see a huge desk area. This is the check-in desk.
They will ask if you have a patient ID. If you did stop in the ER you do have one (it was listed on the medical bracelet). If not, then say so. The next question is whether or not you have an appointment. Understand you may get a frown once you admit you do not. Do not be intimidated if they suggest you apply for an appointment the traditional way. You have tried or you just want to be helped now. Don't get angry. Just explain how you understand it is possible to be seen without a prior appointment.
Downtown Rochester & Mayo Clinic
Visiting Mayo Clinic
Have you ever been seen at Mayo Clinic
I Have No Appointment. Wait-List Me.
This is where the patience comes in. Once you impress your need for an appointment on the receptionist they will place you on the 'wait list.' You will literally be waiting until a cancelled appointment becomes available. Not waiting by the phone but waiting IN PERSON. I was told 'this can take anywhere from two hours to two weeks.' All this time you must be there in person, in the lobby, to claim the appointment. This is why you absolutely must have made preparations in advance for the possibility of an extended stay. You might be waiting for eight or nine hours a day for literally two weeks straight.
The Final Hurdle
After the wait listing issue has been explained you will be given a thick stack of forms to fill out. This is a prelude to what I call 'the final hurdle.' Part of getting into Mayo Clinic is being told whether or not you fit the candidacy of a patient. The nurse in charge of candicacy will be honest about the situation. There are cases which Mayo Clinic does not take. Often this is where all testing, diagnoses, etc have already been found. Nothing more can be done which has not be done. Also, I was informed by the nurse they often do not take 'chronic' cases e.g. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I am not quite sure exactly what is all meant by this as I am a chronic case which did end up getting seen.
Be honest entirely about what you want. I wanted to know about why I was diagnosed with 'x' and 'what can be done' etc. Peak their interest. Now is not the time to be mysterious about your case. This is your shot at getting into the Clinic. If all else fails then sincerely plead with them. You have come so far. Do not give up now.
You are a Candidate! Now What?!
Congratulations! You are considered a candidate! Now comes the time to settle in for a wait. You could be called before even getting the chance to leave the nurse's office. Or you might end up doing an eight-hour wait for the next week or so. Bring something to do. Whether this be knitting, office work (free wi-fi is available), or people watch for a time. I suggest also bringing a snack or two. You do not want to risk missing the chance for an appointment because you were gone for an hour lunch break.
Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living
Mayo Clinic has some of the best doctors in the world. If you cannot get into one of their patient seminars then consider a guide. Keep calm while you wait with this stress-free guide to living.
Luckier than I Thought
When it comes to 'wait time' I was insanely lucky. Halfway through speaking with us the nurse received a cancellation call. Being the only person on the wait list put me in the right place at the right time. Despite her warnings they might not be able to do much for chronic conditions she called back to make the appointment for me. We had five minutes to get to the eighteenth floor to check in for our first appointment.
I was amazed to discover the busy season had ZERO people on the cancellation list. Yes. I was incredibly lucky but imagine how crazy it would have been had there been fifty people ahead of me. Even if there had been we still would have waited to be seen. Going to Mayo is changing my life so do not be afraid to wait for such an opportunity of your own.