Newspaper article

Mayo Clinic CEO: Expansion Funding 'The Right Thing for Minnesota'

Newspaper article

Mayo Clinic CEO: Expansion Funding 'The Right Thing for Minnesota'

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- A major state investment in a Mayo Clinic expansion plan would be "the right thing for Minnesota," Mayo CEO Dr. John Noseworthy said here Tuesday, though he hedged on whether such a request will pass the state Legislature.

Noseworthy, asked about a $3 billion expansion proposal at a Tuesday speech at the National Press Club, made his pitch: Mayo is the biggest private employer in Minnesota and accounts for $9.6 billion in revenue for the state, so it's only fair for the state to make a $500 million investment is Rochester infrastructure upgrades related to the clinic's expansion.

"We told the state we want to grow, we know Mayo Clinic will continue to grow, we want to grow in Minnesota," he said. "We have to decide where we're going to invest. If we're going to invest $3 billion over the next 20 years we just have to know that we're going to invest it in a place that will allow us to grow."

Mayo announced its expansion plan in January, saying it expects to create 45,000 jobs in the process. But Rochester is too small to pay for the infrastructure improvements associated with the project, Noseworthy said, so it's asking the state for about $500 million upfront to fill the gap.

Mayo has support from a bipartisan group of state lawmakers and from Gov. Mark Dayton. As to whether the funding will come through, Noseworthy started to say he expected so, but walked that back.

"It should pass -- it's the right thing for Minnesota," he said. "All boats will rise."

Lobbying for new health care initiatives

Noseworthy's wish list for the federal government is perhaps an even harder lift.

Noseworthy is meeting with lawmakers during his D.C. trip and used his Tuesday speech to outline his vision to "transform health care in America." Much of his address looked at what Mayo has done toward that goal, but he brought a few long-held requests with him:

[bullet] First, the government should invest more in federal scientific research through the National Institutes of Health. NIH spent about $30 billion on medical research last year, and Noseworthy said about $220 million of that went to Mayo.

Complicating things is sequestration, which cut the NIH budget by about 5 percent this year. …

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