Mayo Clinic nurses speak out following Mayo Clinic’s potential withdraw of funds

Nurses shared stories of their experiences working for the healthcare giant, including frequent under-staffing which puts patient care at risk. Nurses also noted the ‘anti-worker tactics of Mayo’, where executives use strong-arm tactics in negotiations and host the virulently anti-labor National Right to Work Foundation in their efforts to remove collective bargaining rights from Mayo nurses.

According to Hubbard Broadcasting’s KAAL-TV ABC 6, Mayo CEO Gianrico Farrugia took a 27 percent raise last year to now make $3.5 million in annual compensation.

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Minnesota Nurses Association officials also said in addition to their anti-worker actions and under-staffing which put patient care at risk by driving nurses away from the bedside, Mayo executives deny patients transparency when it comes to their healthcare. Recent investigations by the Rochester Post-Bulletin found Mayo was not informing patients that they qualified for charity care, instead suing them for medical bills, and recently began charging hidden “facility fees” that in some cases doubled patients’ bills.

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Lawmakers confirmed with ABC 6 News on Friday that they received an email from Mayo Clinic officials saying that if the specific language in the “Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act” was not changed, Mayo would stop investing more than one billion dollars in projects in the state.

Mayo Clinic has also expressed concerns over a proposed Healthcare Affordability Board.

“I just feel like Mayo is, is holding our patients and the people of Minnesota hostage, holding the nurses hostage,” said MNA President Mary Turner. “And to have it now come to this point, that Mayo can just use their corporate power, and money and influence.”

MNA President Mary Turner

Turner says she still feels assured lawmakers will do what they can to pass this legislation before the session is over.

“It is completely unethical for Mayo a nonprofit corporation to attempt to override democracy. and disrupt the legislative process with what is essentially blackmail tactics. Mayo and our elected leaders must answer to the public and not powerful corporate interest,” explained Becky Nelson, RN, Chair of MNA’s Government Affairs Commission.

Mayo Clinic released the following statement on Monday:

“We are disappointed with bill authors in the time being spent on a press conference when we could be using this time to make progress on a solution. Mayo remains committed to engaging with policymakers and other partners on legislation that will be in the best interests of patients, staff, the state and Mayo Clinic.

Mayo Clinic has worked with policymakers for several months on proposed changes to the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act legislation that would provide a more comprehensive approach to address nursing shortages while ensuring Mayo Clinic can continue to fulfill its mission. We value input from our nurses – it is core to our staffing model. We agree our nursing staff face many challenges; however, we believe this bill does little to address the real challenge – recruitment and retention of the health care workers and staff Minnesotans need.”

Monday afternoon, Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) released the following statement offering a better way: Allowing Minnesota to join the National Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), as have 38 other states. The Senate passed the bill in 2022, but it did not receive a hearing in the House. Senator Nelson introduced it again this year as Senate File 3281.

“We know that hospitals and healthcare facilities across the state are in a staffing crisis,” Sen. Nelson said. “The ‘Keeping Nurses at the Bedside’ Act is well-intentioned, but will not accomplish what we need. There is a better way: The Nurse Licensure Compact will increase access to care, support telehealth, and help Minnesota be better prepared to meet health crises such as the pandemic. It will also increase our service for military individuals, spouses, and families. It will enable us to serve patients and families beyond our state boundaries. Joining the Nurse Licensure Compact is supported by nurses – it will keep them competitive with their peers and keep our state as a healthcare leader.”

Sen. Nelson added, “The NLC compact has been a successful nurse licensure model for over twenty years. Minnesota should join the 38 other states that have allowed nurses to participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact just as we allowed physicians to join the Physician Licensure Compact several years ago. It is past time that we allow Minnesota nurses to obtain a single license to work in multiple states, and allow nurses from other NLC states to work in Minnesota to fill shortages.”