Mayo reconsiders building in Minnesota over staffing, cost containment bills

Mayo Clinic is considering pulling billions in investments from Minnesota over two bills related to nurse staffing levels and healthcare costs, the Minnesota Reformer reported. 

Mayo is reconsidering plans for new facilities and infrastructure that are "four times the size of the investment in U.S. Bank Stadium" — a $1.1 billion project in downtown Minneapolis — the Rochester, Minn.-based health system told Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and state lawmakers May 3 in an email obtained by the newspaper.

Mayo's decision is "time sensitive" and will be made soon, Kate Johansen, vice chair of external engagement, wrote in the email, according to the Reformer.

According to the newspaper, Ms. Johansen said: "Because these bills continue to proceed without meaningful and necessary changes to avert their harms to Minnesotans, we cannot proceed with seeking approval to make this investment in Minnesota. We will need to direct this enormous investment to other states."

At issue is the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act, which would require hospitals to form hospital nurse staffing committees to set staffing levels. The state would evaluate each hospital's compliance with its own staffing plan. The bill, backed by the Minnesota Nurses Association, also includes workplace violence prevention and loan forgiveness programs.

Another bill at issue establishes the Health Care Affordability Board to address high healthcare costs. The board would monitor costs and set targets to limit costs, according to an article posted on the Minnesota House of Representatives website

Both bills are in the final stages of negotiations among state lawmakers, according to the Reformer.

Mayo Clinic did not respond to a request from the newspaper for comment on what specific project is being referenced in the May 3 email, but the email indicated it would be privately funded, according to the Reformer.

Amy Williams, MD, chair of the Midwest Clinical Practice Committee for Mayo Clinic, shared the following statement with Becker's: "At the heart of this is legislation we believe will negatively impact access to care and our ability to transform healthcare to support our staff and meet the evolving needs of our patients. Like any responsible organization, we must evaluate the legislative and regulatory environment in the places we operate. Mayo has been working to address these concerns for months and is committed to transparently sharing the impacts of these policy decisions. We will continue working with leaders on a bill that is in the best interests of patients, the state and Mayo Clinic."

State Rep. Sandra Feist said the email from Mayo was surprising because she had been working with the health system to address their concerns without gutting the proposal, according to the Reformer.

Mr. Walz, the governor, told the Reformer he believes a compromise is possible. 

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