Mayo threatens to withdraw funding over proposed legislation

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(ABC 6 News) – Friday, accusations surfaced against Mayo Clinic The Minnesota Nurses Association has accused Mayo Clinic of black mailing the Minnesota Legislature following an email sent out Wednesday from Mayo to DFL legislatures to kill the ‘Keeping Nurses at the Bedside act’.

Lawmakers have confirmed that they received an email from Mayo Clinic officials saying that if certain language in the bill isn’t changed, Mayo would stop investing more than a billion dollars in projects in Minnesota and move them elsewhere.

And that’s just part of it.

Mayo also has concerns about a second bill – called the “Healthcare Affordability Board.”

In their email to lawmakers, Mayo said that saw that bill as a threat to the already-established healthcare system Minnesota has, and that it would only make things worse.

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ABC 6 News spoke with Mary Turner, President of the Minnesota Nurses Association about the news and she described feeling “every emotion under the sun” over the last 24 hours with this news.

“Disappointment, disbelief, angry. I just feel like mayo is, is holding our patients and the people of Minnesota hostage, holding the nurses hostage. We’ve worked for 15 years for this kind of staffing and now this year we’ve had overwhelming support from both the senate and the house. And to have it now come to this point, that mayo can just use their corporate power, and money and influence to pull the rug out from under our feet is just wrong. The people of Minnesota deserve better our patients deserve better and the nursing profession i am so proud of deserves better. Because all we’re trying to do with this legislation is to help the people of Minnesota.”

Mary Turner, President of the Minnesota Nurses Association

Turner says she has continued to be in contact with legislatures following this news from Mayo and still feels assured they will do what they can to pass this legislation before the session is over.

State Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) issued the following statement in response to a report the Mayo Clinic emailed Democrat legislative leaders and Governor Walz to share their concerns about legislation being advanced at the state capitol:

“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.”

Mayo Clinic released the following statement in response to their movement on the legislation:

“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.”

Amy Williams, M.D., Chair of Midwest Clinical Practice at Mayo Clinic

Mayo did not provide a timeline to ABC 6 News on when they would want the Minnesota legislature to end this bill to keep their funding in state.