Mayo Clinic thanks governor, legislators after staffing bill revamp

Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic has been at the center of a controversial statewide staffing measure. Its relationship with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz was essential to its exemption from the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act — and the bill's final-hour revisions, the health system said. 

Mayo Clinic's President and CEO Gianrico Farrugia, MD, said the health system remained "steadfast" in its position throughout the legislative session and expressed gratitude to those who backed them up — including the governor. 

"In particular, we are thankful to Gov. Walz and his team for their exceptional partnership and leadership," Dr. Farrugia said in a statement shared with Becker's. "Gov. Walz, Speaker [Melissa] Hortman and Majority Leader [Kari] Dziedzic have expressed firm support for Mayo Clinic and for our desire to grow and invest in healthcare and our communities."

Mayo Clinic shares a commitment with the governor and legislature to "continue addressing the challenges facing nurses — including nationwide staffing shortages and increasing violence against healthcare workers," according to Dr. Farrugia. 

However, the Minnesota Nurses Association — which has backed the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act from the beginning — is disheartened by the initial bill's demise. 

"Today, my heart breaks for the patients in Minnesota," said Mary Turner, RN, president of the MNA, in a May 22 statement. "We came here to pass the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act. Because of the power and influence of corporate healthcare executives, that bill has died." 

"Today's outcome, and the events of the last three weeks, make clear that the outsized power of corporate executives is alive and well," Ms. Turner continued. "It is alive and well in Minnesota, in the halls of power, and in the halls of our hospitals."

In place of the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act, the legislature has created a compromise bill: the Nurse and Patient Safety Act. The updated bill cuts staffing regulations and instead targets workplace violence prevention, nurse burnout and loan forgiveness. 

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