Minnesota drafts compromise to exempt Mayo Clinic from staffing bill

The state of Minnesota is moving forward with a plan to exempt Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic from its controversial Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act, the Star Tribune reported May 15. 

Health systems, including Mayo Clinic, have spoken out against the bill; if passed, it would require hospitals to form nurse staffing committees and comply with the established staffing ratios. In a May 13 statement, Mayo Clinic said the legislation would "severely limit" its ability to provide world-class care. Mayo's CEO said he would consider relocating a billion-dollar project outside Minnesota if the legislation is passed. 

Following that claim, Minnesota lawmakers have been working up a draft compromise. One version would exempt hospitals from the staffing laws if they operate outside the Twin Cities, use an electronic staffing system that considers patient volume and acuity, and have more than 40 percent of patients from outside the state. Under these criteria, only Mayo Clinic in Rochester would be exempt — not its other facilities in Minnesota. 

"Mayo is different," Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman said on a Sunday morning news show. "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."

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