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St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Mayo Clinic appears to be flexing its economic and political muscles in St. Paul.

The Star Tribune is reporting that Mayo Clinic's top lobbyist at the State Capitol has sent an email to Governor Tim Walz and legislative leaders warning that billions of dollars in planned investments by Mayo Clinic in Minnesota could be in jeopardy if provisions of an omnibus bill are not removed before the legislation is signed into law.

The Star Tribune quoted the email as saying, "Our board was set to move forward to consider this investment next week. Because these bills continue to proceed without meaningful and necessary changes to avert their harms to Minnesotans, we cannot proceed with seeking approval to make this investment in Minnesota. We will need to direct this enormous investment to other states."

Minnesota State Capitol at Night
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Specifically, Mayo is objecting to 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 is also opposed to a measure that would penalize hospitals that exceed spending growth limits that would be set by a new state Health Care Affordability Board.

Mayo Clinic issued a statement this afternoon in response to the media coverage.

“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.”

 

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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 News that Mayo Clinic has been planning for the possibility of constructing a new hospital in downtown Rochester near the Gonda Building.

When asked about the possible hospital project earlier this year, Mayo Clinic had this response. “We’re in the early stages of long-term planning and examining the intersection of physical space and digital capabilities. We regularly convene multidisciplinary teams to reimagine the future of care. We look forward to sharing more with our patients, staff, and Rochester as the work evolves.”

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