The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 18, 2013

Mayo CEO says River's Edge claims of unfair practices are baseless

ST PETER — Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato CEO Greg Kutcher said Friday the claims of unfair business practices made by River’s Edge Hospital in St. Peter are baseless and hurtful to the people who work at Mayo’s St. Peter Clinic.

In an article in Thursday’s Free Press, River’s Edge CEO Colleen Spike said Mayo had gone astray. She shared a letter she’d written to the state attorney general asking for an investigation into Mayo’s practices. She claimed patients have been falsely told the hospital is full when it wasn’t, and that patients were being told that River’s Edge can’t or won’t perform certain procedures, such as mammograms or ultrasounds.

But Kutcher said Spike’s claims lack substance. Not once, he said, has Spike or anyone else at River’s Edge ever come to them to discuss specific claims. Not once, he said, has Spike asked Kutcher for help in addressing a patient’s complaints about being told the hospital is full or that mammograms aren’t done in St. Peter.

Kutcher said the ill will has been festering for several years. In one case where a concern was brought up, Kutcher said the example made a better case for not referring a patient to River’s Edge.

The issued concerned a patient with diabetic ketoacidosis, a complicated and serious condition. Mayo doctors urged the patient be treated at the hospital in Mankato where they have an intensive care unit.

Kutcher said Spike suggested the transfer recommendation was unnecessary and part of Mayo’s efforts to channel patients away from River’s Edge.

“No family physician would want to treat that when you have a specialized hospital 12 miles away,” he said.

Treating that patient in St. Peter, Kutcher said, would be unsafe and he’s not willing to risk patient safety for the sake of keeping people in beds at River’s Edge.

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