Rochester Lawmakers React to Mayo Clinic Warning About Bills
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News)- Rochester lawmakers reacted over the weekend to news of Mayo Clinic reconsidering planned investments in Minnesota if parts of the proposed Omnibus Health and Human Services bill are not removed before Governor Tim Walz signs the legislation into law.
Reports surfaced Friday regarding an email a Mayo Clinic lobbyist sent to the governor and DFL leaders warning the planned billions in investment could be in jeopardy. The Rochester-based health care giant is at odds with a plan sought by the Minnesota Nurses Association to require hospitals to form committees with significant representation of nurses that would set staffing levels that would limit the number of patients based on the number of nurses assigned to care for them.
Mayo has also opposed a measure that would penalize hospitals that exceed spending growth limits that would be set by a new state Health Care Affordability Board. The email message reported by the Star Tribune did not identify the capital investments that could be affected if the bills are passed in their current forms, but sources have told KROC-AM News that Mayo Clinic has been planning for the possibility of constructing a new hospital in downtown Rochester near the Gonda Building.
Rochester Republican Senator Carla Nelson issued a statement Friday night, which in part read, ““The Mayo Clinic is the gold standard for healthcare and routinely is ranked as the top hospital in the nation. When they, and other cornerstone institutions in Minnesota, sound the alarm about legislation advancing at our Capitol in St. Paul, we must listen.”
“The Mayo Clinic is the gold standard for healthcare and routinely is ranked as the top hospital in the nation. When they, and other cornerstone institutions in Minnesota, sound the alarm about legislation advancing at our Capitol in St. Paul, we must listen.
“Mayo Clinic has warned that committee-driven staffing ratios as required in the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act will exacerbate current staffing challenges. Hospitals have warned the legislation will close beds and hurt access for some of the most vulnerable patients. The Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act fails to recognize that staffing is dynamic, time-sensitive, and patient-specific. Minnesota needs more nurses, not more committees.
“Mayo’s lauded Model of Care and Nursing speaks for itself. Mayo must be allowed to continue their renowned patient-centered care without government-mandated obstacles to providing the best care in the world right here in Minnesota. The needs of the patient must come first.
“I encourage Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) and Sen. Melissa Wiklund (DFL-Bloomington) to drop these dangerous provisions from their House and Senate Health Bills: SF 1561/HF 1700.
DFL Rep. Andy Smith tweeted Friday, “I love Mayo, but it is unacceptable to demand this ransom of Minnesota.” He also tweeted a two-part video in support of the Nurses at the Bedside Act.
Mayo Clinic, which is Minnesota's largest private employer, released the following statement after the email sent to DFL leaders became public:
At the heart of this is legislation we believe will negatively impact access to care and our ability to transform health care 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.
The Omnibus Health and Human Services budget bill passed out of both the House and Senate. Lawmakers are ironing out differences in the House and Senate versions in a conference committee that includes Rochester DFL Rep. Tina Liebling. The legislative session ends on May 22.
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