Lawmakers, MNA react to Mayo Clinic threat to pull investments

MNA addresses concerns with Mayo comments
MNA addresses concerns with Mayo comments(Quinn Gorham)
Published: May. 8, 2023 at 7:45 PM CDT
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (GRAY) – Monday, nurses with the MNA gathered with lawmakers at the State Capitol to address comments made by Mayo Clinic last Friday. In an email obtained by private media, the hospital threatened to pull a multi-billion-dollar investment if the legislature passes two healthcare-related pieces of legislation.

One of those bills is the so-called “Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act,” which aims to give nurses around the state a say in staffing and recruiting levels by creating committees and other provisions. The hospital proposed exemptions that would effectively exempt most hospitals statewide from the law.

“At the 11th hour, Mayo Clinic Health Systems is attempting to ignore… the growing list of reports that are showing nurses are leaving our profession in droves,” said MNA 1st Vice President Chris Rubesch, “Corporate health executives like those at the Mayo Clinic don’t want to face the hard truth. That is the unsafe profit driven staffing reductions that they are implementing that is causing this staffing crisis.”

The comments from Mayo come as the law has already moved through both the House and Senate as part of the Health and Human Services Omnibus Bill. That bill is currently in conference committee, a time usually reserved for ironing out differences between the two versions of the bill in the House and Senate.

Lawmakers called the “Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act” a collaborative process with bipartisan support.

Representative Sandra Feist (DFL - New Brighton), who carried the bill in the House, said they’ve worked closely with hospitals like Mayo for months, and the clinic’s comments caught them off guard.

“We thought we were working together in good faith, in a collaborative manner, to make sure that this bill was a workable bill for hospital stakeholders... And I guess we were wrong,” said Feist, “We were very surprised to hear their demands at the 11th hour, saying that they wanted to be fully exempt from our bill.”

As it stands, Feist said the DFL will seek to compromise with Mayo, without putting aside the nurses that pushed for this legislation to begin with.

“Any compromise that we would enter into would have to achieve these bill’s goals and they cannot include any language that Mayo Clinic has proposed that would gut this bill, or that would exempt every single hospital in Minnesota from our bill,” Feist said.

The bill will be finalized in a conference committee, before heading back to the floor for a vote without debate.