Mayo to favor privately insured over Medicaid patients: The Star Tribune

Summary: “Mayo Clinic’s chief executive made a startling announcement in a recent speech to employees: The Rochester-based health system will give preference to patients with private insurance over those with lower-paying Medicaid or Medicare coverage, if they seek care at the same time and have comparable conditions,” writes Jeremy Olson at The Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “The number of patients affected would probably be small, but the selective strategy reveals the financial pressures that Mayo is facing in part due to federal health reforms. For while the Affordable Care Act has reduced the number of uninsured patients, it has increased the share covered by Medicaid, which pays around 50 to 85 cents on the dollar of the actual cost of medical care. Mayo will always take patients, regardless of payer source, when it has medical expertise that they can’t find elsewhere, said Dr. John Noseworthy, Mayo’s CEO. But when two patients are referred with equivalent conditions, he said the health system should ‘prioritize’ those with private insurance. ‘We’re asking … if the patient has commercial insurance, or they’re Medicaid or Medicare patients and they’re equal, that we prioritize the commercial insured patients enough so … we can be financially strong at the end of the year to continue to advance, advance our mission,’ Noseworthy said in a videotaped speech to staff late last year. The Star Tribune obtained a transcript of the speech, and Mayo has confirmed its authenticity.” Jeremy Olson, “Mayo to give nod to privately insured over Medicaid patients,” The Minneapois Star-Tribune.