DFL Leader: Compromise Could Exempt Mayo from Nurse Staffing Bill
Earlier this month, a Mayo lobbyist previously sent an email to Governor Tim Walz and legislative leaders warning them that more than $4 billion in investments planned in Minnesota could be jeopardized if a proposed law to form committees with significant representation of nurses that would set staffing levels at the state's hospitals is approved in its current form. Mayo Clinic also objected to a proposed law that would create a new state board that would set limits on growth in healthcare spending and potentially penalize healthcare providers that exceed the limits.
House Speaker Melissa Hortman indicated Mayo could be treated differently under the proposed legislation during an interview Sunday on WCCO’s 4 News Sunday Morning. She discussed a compromise that may be reached between lawmakers as soon as this week that does treat Mayo differently from other hospitals in the state.
“There is a compromise that we will be agreeing to either today or tomorrow that does treat Mayo differently because Mayo is different,” Hortman said during the Sunday morning interview. “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. And Mayo has a very good acuity tool that they use.”
Hortman also said the nurses "have a very good point," when it comes to determining staffing levels at the state's hospitals. She said nurses have been stretched to the breaking point since COVID and deserve to have the right to know that staffing levels are safe at the hospital they are working at.
The House Speaker gave the interview the morning after Mayo Clinic issued a statement doubling down on its opposition to the bill, which read in part, “A bill poised to pass in the coming days, The Keep Nurses at the Bedside Act (KNABA), will have significant negative impacts on health care in Minnesota and will severely limit Mayo Clinic’s ability to deliver world-class care.”
Mayo Clinic has not publicly discussed what projects planned for Minnesota might be canceled or shifted to another state, but sources have told KROC News that Mayo Clinic has been preparing for the possible development of a large hospital that would be located in downtown Rochester in an area just west of the Gonda Building. The proposed legislation has the support of the Minnesota Nurses Association, which is continuing a sit-in outside of Governor Tim Walz’s office this week.
The proposals Mayo is at odds with are included in the House and Senate versions of the omnibus Health and Human Services budget bills. The differences in the massive budget bills are being ironed out in a conference committee that includes Rochester DFL Rep. Tina Liebling. The legislative session is scheduled to end on May 22.