LAKE CITY, Minn. (KTTC) — There are major allegations against Mayo Clinic Health System (MCHS). Two former and one current employee have filed a whistleblower lawsuit in Goodhue County District Court against Mayo Clinic Health System – Lake City and Mayo Clinic Health System – Southeast Minnesota.
The three plaintiffs, Jacob Ricks, Mark Swenson and Heidi Harms, allege the company is endangering patient lives in order to save money.
Ricks and Swenson spent more than seven years working at the MCHS Lake City location as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), until Swenson resigned in October.
They allege MCHS violated the terms of Ricks’ and Swenson’s contracts, by leaving the city and health system without proper care when patients are in need of deep sedation.
“The real issue is that this is a patient safety issue for us and that maintaining this coverage is something we felt that Mayo had to try to do the appropriate way, which was through the board of directors and when they couldn’t get it done that way, they were trying to force it through in another way, which was retaliation on Mark and I,” said Ricks.
The plaintiffs say there should be at least two CRNA’s on call at the Lake City location and the cuts by MCHS would not allow for that.
Swenson says the need for his job is so vital that he offered to stay on at a reduced salary, but felt he had no choice.
“During the process of trying to negotiate me staying on, I even offered, because I saw the need for the community and the desire of the community, to remain working here. So I actually offered to take a 30% pay cut to stay in the exact same role I was in and I was informed that wasn’t an option,” explained Swenson.
Mayo Clinic Health System responded to the lawsuit in an email statement to KTTC that reads:
“Mayo Clinic Health System has been contacted by an attorney representing former and affiliated employees of Mayo Clinic Health System in Lake City. Mayo Clinic Health System denies the allegations in the lawsuit.
While we cannot discuss the details of this pending litigation or respond to specific allegations, we want to assure our patients and the community that they have and continue to receive safe, high-quality care at Mayo Clinic Health System in Lake City. The current CRNA staffing model has not changed and the proposed staffing model will be consistent with other Mayo Clinic Health System hospitals with similar scope of services.”