Noseworthy said in a statement Friday that medical need will always be the top factor in scheduling an appointment.
"In an internal discussion I used the word 'prioritized' and I regret this has caused concerns that
"Changing demographics, aging of Americans and budgetary pressures at state and federal government pose challenges to the fiscal sustainability in healthcare today," he said. "While these discussions are uncomfortable, they are critical for us to be able to meet the needs of all of our patients."
The agency also is reviewing its contracts with
Last year, Noseworthy told staff that when
"We're asking . if the patient has commercial insurance, or they're
The statement said that as Mayo's percentage of publicly funded patients has grown, to now roughly 50 percent, the health system is working to increase commercially insured patients.
"To fund its research and education mission, Mayo needs to support its commercial insurance patient numbers in order to continue to subsidize the care of patients whose insurance does not cover the cost of their care," the statement said.
Piper said Noseworthy's statements do not reflect routine hospital practices, and she found them to be troubling.
As Human Services commissioner, Piper is focused on ensuring access to health care for those enrolled in public programs. She said providers have to follow the law and uphold agreements to provide such care. She said that in her view, nothing that is happening with the health care law on the federal level changes those requirements.
"Health insurance coverage for health insurance coverage's sake is not the end goal," she said. "It's access — that's what's important."
Anastasijevic said Minnesota Medicaid patients are and will continue to be scheduled the same as patients with commercial insurance.