Mayo Clinic doubles down against Minnesota healthcare bills

Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic has doubled down on its stance against Minnesota's Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act, potentially spurring changes to the bill that would treat the health system differently. 

The legislation is one of many safe staffing bills up for consideration in state governments. If passed, it would require hospitals to form nurse staffing committees to set staffing levels. The state would evaluate hospitals' compliance with those staffing levels. 

Another bill raising hospitals' alarms would establish the Health Care Affordability Board to monitor costs and set targets to limit them. 

CEOs and other leaders from the state's hospitals and health systems have pushed back against the bill, alleging it would negatively affect care by "mandating new committees to determine the day-to-day management of [their] hospitals" and "handing decision making authority for care delivery to external lawyers." Among those on the front lines was Mayo Clinic CEO Gianrico Farrugia, MD, who is considering pulling billions in investments in Minnesota over the legislation. 

Mayo Clinic doubled down on its stance in a statement released May 13, stating the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act would "severely limit Mayo Clinic’s ability to deliver world-class care" by limiting its flexibility and autonomy. 

"We implore legislators and the Governor to consider the voice of highly skilled, experienced health care providers like Mayo when determining the final versions," the statement said. "Our position is about patients." 

The following day on a local Sunday morning news program, House Speaker Melissa Hortman said representatives would likely agree to a compromise in Mayo Clinic's favor. 

“I believe there is a compromise that we will be agreeing to either today or tomorrow that does treat Mayo differently because Mayo is different," Ms. Horman said. "Mayo is an asset that is known all over the world — there are not other hospitals in the state that have kings and princes flying in to stay to get treatment — and Mayo has a very good acuity tool that they use." 

The Minnesota Hospital Association followed with its own statement shared with Becker's, challenging special exemptions for only Mayo. 

"The problem with the Speaker's comments is not that there will be an alternative for the Mayo Clinic, but rather that there would be an alternative for ONLY the Mayo Clinic," the statement says. "Many health systems across Minnesota have acuity tools like those at the Mayo Clinic, and to leave the Minnesotans they serve behind is unacceptable."

We again want to be unequivocal: any alternative that works for any hospital or health system in Minnesota must work for every hospital and health system in Minnesota," the statement continued. "An alternative that benefits only one health system is not a solution at all."

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