ROCHESTER — Mayo Clinic officials are reiterating their plans to invest in the medical giant's hometown after threatening to move $4 billion in planned investments out of Minnesota during this year's legislative session.
Erin Sexton, Mayo Clinic's director of enterprise community engagement, told the Destination Medical Center (DMC) Board of Directors at a meeting Thursday that Mayo is determining the next steps for what she called a "multi-year strategic initiative" that could "transform health care with a focus on Rochester."
"And it includes envisioning new and renewed spaces to meet the needs of our patients now and in future generations," Sexton said, though she did not outline specific plans.
DMC Chair Pamela Wheelock said local officials are looking forward to more discussions on Mayo's impact on Rochester once concrete plans are unveiled to the public.
Mayo reportedly looks to invest more than $4 billion in Minnesota, which became a key point in discussions over two bills the medical giant opposed during the legislative session concerning nurse staffing levels and a health care affordability board.
Minnesota lawmakers later exempted Mayo from a bill that requires committees at hospitals represented by nurses and executives to agree on minimum nurse staffing levels in hospital units. Mayo argued its automated staffing system can make decisions quicker than committees and react better to health care needs in communities.
"We remain committed to looking at how we can help support our nurses, support our staff, with the things that are making their jobs harder," Sexton said.
Also Thursday, Mayo surgical workers delivered a petition to hospital leadership over staffing concerns, excessive mandatory overtime, and lack of breaks and training, among other grievances. The petition was signed by almost 300 union and nonunion workers — more than half of the department of roughly 400 people.
"Every single time we've been meeting with the employer on these, we've been hitting a brick wall," union representative Hallie Wallace said during a news conference.
Workers hope to meet with Mayo leadership by June 1 to discuss solutions, which could include wage increases and bonus pay.