Mayo's fiscal health - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Fanna Haile-Selassie

Mayo's fiscal health

Rochester, MN (KTTC-DT) --

As national lawmakers sit down with President Barack Obama on the future of health care reform, Mayo Clinic announces how 2009 went for the company. 2008 was a rough year, and now 2009 may help to get Mayo back on track.

"This became a very ideological battle. It became a very partisan battle."

President Barack Obama tried once again to get lawmakers on both sides of the isle to agree on certain health care reform bench marks. But when reform will actually happen and how far the reform goes could have significant impacts on hospitals and clinics across the country.

"The long-term deficit and debt that we face relates to the exploding cost of Medicare and Medicaid," continues the president.

It's a problem Mayo Clinic has had for a while. With roughly 40% of Mayo patients on Medicare, the 50% reimbursement rate severely hurts the clinic's pocketbook.

In 2009, Mayo Clinic tried to create a broader mix of patients.

"We love to see medicare patients, but we struggle to afford to do so. So each year we see more medicare patients than the year before, but we just have to watch that a bit, because it's not a sustainable business model for the organization," explains Mayo CEO Dr. John Noseworthy.

Overall, 2009 was a good year for Mayo, a stark difference from 2008 when the company squeaked by to break-even. Mayo's net operating income in 2009 was $333 million, which sets it's operating margin at 4.4%. That's where Mayo says it wants to be. Income from patient care more than doubled from 2008 to $474 million from $204 million.

"Our success and the key to our success in the past, as well as the future, has always been our staff," says Shirley Weis, Mayo's Chief Administrative Officer.

Noseworthy continues to stress that health care reform needs to happen in order to make it more affordable. As of now, he says he doesn't know how the talks in Washington will affect Mayo Clinic.

Since Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization, the increase in 2009's income will fund Mayo's top capitol priorities for 2010.

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