- By Kelley Luckstein
Statement from Mayo Clinic on patient appointment concerns
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Below is a statement from John Noseworthy, M.D., Mayo Clinic president and CEO, in response to the recent news story about patient appointments at Mayo Clinic:
“Patient medical need will always be the primary factor in determining and setting an appointment. In an internal discussion I used the word ‘prioritized’ and I regret this has caused concerns that Mayo Clinic will not serve patients with government insurance. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, about half of the total services we provide are for patients who have government insurance, and we’re committed to serving those patients.
Changing demographics, aging of Americans and budgetary pressures at state and federal government pose challenges to the fiscal sustainability in healthcare today. While these discussions are uncomfortable, they are critical for us to be able to meet the needs of all of our patients.” - Dr. John Noseworthy
Mayo Clinic has always been committed to serving patients who need us the most, regardless of insurance coverage. Across Mayo, beneficiaries of government programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, make up about 50 percent of the total services we provide. Medical need is the top factor in the decision making process for appointment scheduling. After medical need, we consider if the patient can access the care they need closer to home and often work with their local provider to provide the highest level of care locally.
Mayo provided $629.7 million in care to people in need in 2016 alone, including $546.4 million in unpaid portions of Medicaid and other indigent care programs for people who are uninsured or underinsured. The estimated unpaid portion of Medicare services across the organization was an additional $1.8 billion. As our percentage of government pay patients has grown, we are working in turn to grow the number of commercially insured patients we are seeing. To fund its research and education mission, Mayo needs to support its commercial insurance patient numbers in order to continue to subsidize the care of patients whose insurance does not cover the cost of their care.
Balancing payer mix is complex and isn’t unique to Mayo Clinic. It affects much of the industry, but it’s often not talked about. That’s why we feel it is important to talk transparently about these complex issues with our staff. We will continue to discuss these complicated issues and work to find solutions that benefit our patients.
About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org.