Letter: More discussion needed about Mayo CEO salaries

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Many seniors in Austin read in the Rochester Post Bulletin an article titled “Should top Mayo Clinic leaders make millions?” Like the Minnesota Nurses Association, we agree with their answer of NO.

Services at Austin’s Mayo do not cover dermatology; wound care; or ear, nose and throat care. Eye exams are possible, but we must visit Albert Lea (about 30 miles away) to select frames. Surrounding Mayo facilities are cutting some services — or pulling out entirely. Needed surgery (not for an emergency) is out two months or more! Some of our appointments now are being charged $30 upfront. We are all on Medicare, so this is one way that hospitals “are nickel and diming low-income patients for care.”

Recently, a friend in his early 80s needed to go around 3 p.m. to the Family Medical section of Mayo in Austin on a Friday afternoon. Many tests were taken to help determine his needs, but the results were unavailable by 5 p.m. That is when the Family Medical section closes, so he needed to be moved to the emergency room to wait for the test results.

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When using the Mayo Parent Portal (which does not function well) or whenever calling to get an appointment, we are put on hold for 15 to 20 minutes. The message we hear is “the patient’s needs come first.” That is not what is happening.

The article written by Jeff Kiger (jkiger@postbulletin.com) has many salient points, including a chart of CEO vs. RN pay. RN pay compared to CEO pay ranges from 1.2 to 42.1 (Mayo comparison is 41.1). Judith Garber, senior policy analyst for Lown Institute says: “ Health care is a public good to benefit the community…. Being a CEO is not an easy job but is it 100 times more difficult than the job of cleaning the hospital room?”

Jeff Kiger mentions that Sens. Bernie Sanders and Chuck Grassley are questioning the salaries of nonprofit CEOs. Hopefully, more discussions about this issue will continue.

Note: Mayo took over the Austin Clinic along with St. Olaf Hospital. The clinic was used for the mental health department but has now been sitting empty for several months.

Thank you for your time and effort.

Jane Greco