Another bizarre Twin Cities column about DMC
Last month, the editor of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal took a few funny but cheap shots at Mayo's Destination Medical Center proposal, saying it's all about turning Rochester into a real city, with decent Chinese food and pillow mints in hotels.
This month, editor Dale Kurschner of Twin Cities Business magazine has an even more ridiculous column on the plan, but like the Business Journal, it's revealing about the challenges Mayo faces at the Capitol.
The headline, for about the billionth time in print: "Hold the Mayo."
After spending about half the column talking about his own personal experience with Regions Hospital in St. Paul and North Memorial in Minneapolis, Kurschner notes that both had fewer "adverse health events" per surgical procedure than Mayo's Saint Marys Hospital in the latest annual report. Then this:
Given this, wouldn't it be just as fair for the state to provide financial support to North Memorial Health Care and Regions (along with its HealthPartners parent organization), as it is now considering for the Mayo Clinic?
Kurschner goes on to note, in an absurd way:
"Granted, Mayo is Minnesota's largest private employer (33,599 jobs) and is a world leader in health care research and services."
Well, yes, in fact, that's true -- and not exactly incidental.
He also says Mayo's "presence is more than just appreciated for its contribution to our state's economy," which is good to know. "However, this is not the Mayo of yesteryear."
Why? Because it dares to compete, apparently.
"Decades ago, it was primarily a research institution. Today, Mayo owns hospitals, has partnerships with other hospitals, and is considered a competitive threat by providers throughout the state. And it isn't the only industry jewel in our health care crown: HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation."
That apparently gets to the point. Mayo's getting too big and competitive, and DMC, which Mayo officials say is aimed at national and international patients, would give the clinic an unfair advantage.
Kurschner says "the idea of supporting additional growth in the health care sector is worth considered," but suggests that might include creating special tax districts for "all Minnesota health care providers that have proven they, too, are among the best in the nation."
Either way, state leaders need to remember that while Mayo is the largest and most visible provider, Minnesota taxpayers are more often cared for by other organizations doing just as well, if not better, at providing services and employing highly talented workforces in their communities.
Valid points, and everyone should be asking tough questions about how DMC would work and whether it's worth it. That's what we'll do tonight at the P-B Dialogues, 6:30 p.m. at the Rochester Public Library. But most people would say it's absurd -- and just as parochial as Rochester is accused of being -- to compare Mayo to "other organizations doing just as well, if not better."
FYI, the column's wrong about Mayo planning to spend $5.5 billion over the next 20 years. Mayo says it'll spent about $3.5 billion, leveraging about $2.2 billion (supposedly) in private development, plus the half-billion in public infrastructure spending.