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Key takeaways from Noseworthy's speech to Rochester business leaders

Key takeaways from Noseworthy's speech to Rochester business leaders

Dr. John Noseworthy, president and CEO of Mayo Clinic, delivered the keynote address to a crowd of 700 business leaders at the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce's annual member celebration.

Here are the highlights of Thursday night's speech:

Government Regulation

Noseworthy said Mayo Clinic had "another strong year, despite a tough market." He pointed to a $142 million federal grant that will make Mayo the national Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program biobank as one of clinic's biggest accomplishments of 2016.

But Noseworthy, who has been critical of the Affordable Care Act, said increased government regulation on health care has become "quite burdensome" and is limiting the clinic's "ability to provide efficient care to our patients." He cited reports showing that for every hour a physician spends with a patient, that same physician spends two hours documenting the case and fulfilling the regulatory requirements.

If a physician seems distracted or aloof, he said, "it's because that person has committed their life to providing great care to patients and they're spending an awful lot of time documenting and coding and fulfilling the regulatory requirements. And that's not why they went into medicine. And that creates this epidemic nationally of burnout of the nurses and physicians and health care."

Noseworthy was part of a small group of influential health care leaders who met with President Donald Trump in December. He said Mayo is working closely with the new administration to "bring the voice of the patient and the voice of the medical professional to the government."

"The Affordable Care Act is now on the table for repeal and replace, or as we prefer to say, 'review and repair' ... because there are some things that could perhaps be changed to make it a stronger law. I'm not sure what will happen; we're in the middle of that, as you all know."

Related: Noseworthy's November interview with the Washington Post

Mayo's core values

On Sunday, in the wake of President Trump's executive order suspending travel from seven predominantly-Muslim nations, Noseworthy issued a statement reaffirming Mayo's commitment to its international patients and staff. On Thursday, he did not bring up the travel ban — or Trump by name —but did talk extensively about Mayo's values of diversity and inclusion.

"I know Jeff [Bolton] and I feel fortunate to work at the Mayo Clinic, which is grounded in its core values of respect, integrity, compassion and healing," said Noseworthy. "And that helps us every day when a puzzle comes our way — when something happens in the external environment that we wonder how we best respond to it, we go back to the needs of the patient and our core values."

Noseworthy highlighted Mayo's collaboration with the chamber on its Supplier Diversity Initiative, a program to engage with more companies owned by women, minorities and veterans. In 2016, Mayo had 6,000 contracts with diverse employers and increased its spending with those businesses by more than $125 million. It now spends over $526 million with businesses owned by minorities.

"We're blessed to have forward-thinking entrepreneurs from a diverse range of backgrounds. And that helps the business community thrive. It helps Mayo Clinic thrive. It drives innovation."

'A simple story'

Noseworthy concluded his speech with what he described as a "simple story" that "really does ring that bell about what is unique and special about this community."

It was about a St. Marys patient who was near the end of her life. Her final request: a piece of pumpkin pie.

Nurses went to the hospital cafeteria, only to find it was not available. They then walked across the street to the Canadian Honker, but they did not have any pumpkin pie either.

Then this happened.

"The folks at the Canadian Honker said, 'Why are you nurses wanting a piece of pumpkin pie to bring back to the hospital?' And they told the story. And the folks at the Canadian Honker, do you know what they did? They said, 'Well give us a little time and we'll make one.' And of course, they went back into the kitchen and made this pumpkin pie so they could fulfill this patient's wish.

"It seems like such a little thing, but that wouldn't happen everywhere. And Joe [Powers] didn't know about it. Joe didn't say, 'Make the pie.' But Joe, like all of you, had created that work environment that empowered people to do the right thing.

"It's not a matter of top-down leadership telling people what to do, but in this community it's: what's the right thing for our customers? What's the right thing for our community? And in this case, what's the right thing for patients?"

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Cover photo: Noseworthy in 2015 / Mayo Clinic

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