We hope both sides understand situation

The CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System came to the Fairmont City Council meeting this week to talk about improving the local medical center’s relationship and reputation in the community. The message he received in return is that Fairmont is ticked off. Perhaps that is good, and cathartic, but we are among those who hope the ill will does not last.

Changing it will require two things: First, a real shift at Mayo, which locals want to be more open, more honest and willing to do more to halt the turnover of physicians that has been going for a decade. If people do not believe they can visit the Mayo campus to see a trusted provider, they won’t visit. On the flip side, people here – and across the country – need to understand the dramatic change happening in medicine, driven by cost-containment and the massive federal takeover of health care. It isn’t 1960 anymore: New models of health care delivery are emerging and will become the norm – at Mayo and among other providers.

The discussion Monday evening between Dr. Robert Nesse of Mayo and community leaders and citizens ran along these different paths. Or at cross purposes. We’re of the opinion that Mayo has long understood that changes it is implementing locally (or elsewhere) are not always going to be cheered. Rather, Mayo views them as necessary, to get the finances of medicine under control and to reach for better patient outcomes utilizing providers in new ways. Ways that obviously do not always mesh with what all providers want or with what the public may be accustomed to.

We believe time can heal the wounds that have emerged locally, as long as there is a flow of dialogue and information. We also know that for some, Mayo will never be “forgiven” for what has happened. But these grievances should not guide the future.