In the Loop

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May 1, 2018

You’ve Got Mail: Mailroom Staff Put the Needs of the Patient (and Their Mail) First

By In the Loop

Staff in the mailrooms across Mayo Clinic are constantly busy, delivering around 90,000 pieces of mail each day. But they're never too busy for a little detective work on behalf of a patient.


Barb Macvey's official job title is mail clerk. But there really should be a "slash detective" added to that job title to more accurately describe the tasks that Barb and her colleagues in the mailroom at Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus often take on. Because sometimes delivering the 90,000 or so pieces of mail that come through Mayo Clinic mailrooms every day takes just that — detective work.

For example, earlier this month a green envelope arrived in the Saint Marys mailroom during the heart of another wonderful Midwestern snowstorm. It was addressed to:

Ms. Gwen Mayes — Patient
Mayo Clinic
200 First Street SW
Rochester, MN 55905

Unfortunately, there was a critical piece of information missing: a specific location for Ms. Mayes. That didn't stop Barb. Just as she and other mailroom staff have done in the past, she put on her detective hat and began using the resources available to her to determine A) if Gwen was still at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus; and if so, B) where she might be.

"I started by calling Mayo's Appointment Office because sometimes they know where our patients are staying during their visits or if they have upcoming appointments," Barb tells us. "I explained the situation and they gave me the phone number she'd given them."

Later that day, Gwen Mayes was between appointments when she looked at her phone and noticed she had several voice messages. "One was from Rochester, so I thought, 'Oh, that's someone at Mayo who's trying to reach me about something related to my visit,'" she tells us. "I listened to the message and it was from this very pleasant woman who explained she was calling from the mailroom at Saint Marys and that I had mail there that she wanted to make sure I got. I found that intriguing so I called her back."

On the phone, Gwen explained that she wasn't sure if she'd be able to make it to Saint Marys before leaving town to go back home. "I'd been to Saint Marys before so I knew it was a shuttle ride away and I didn't have any appointments there," Gwen tells us. "Plus, I'd been up since 6 that morning. I was pretty tired and it was still snowing heavily outside. I told her I did have one last appointment at 8:15 a.m. the following morning."

Barb took it from there. "She just said, 'Let me talk to my manager and see what we can do,'" Gwen says. "And that was it."

Only that wasn't it. Early the next morning, as Gwen was checking in for her appointment, the desk attendant had a surprise for her: a green envelope with her name on it.

Inside was a get-well card from a co-worker with words of encouragement that Gwen says were made more meaningful by the effort that had gone into making sure she received them. "I've told this story to so many people," she tells us. "I'm just really impressed by Mayo's ability to be so patient-centered that something as a simple as a get-well card receives this much attention." (Welcome to Mayo Clinic, Gwen. It's what we do.)

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Tags: Appointment Office, Barb Macvey, Employee Stories, Mailroom, Mayo Clinic Hospital, Patient Stories, Saint Marys Campus

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