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Public TV's 'Almanac' broadcasts live from Mayo Clinic

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Twin Cities Public Television's "Almanac" on Friday night featured Mayo Clinic President and CEO Dr. John Noseworthy, center, in a live broadcast at Mayo Clinic. Hosts Eric Eskola and Cathy Wurzer asked him how Mayo Clinic is dealing with the Affordable Care Act.
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Twin Cities Public Television's "Almanac" on Friday night featured Mayo Clinic President and CEO Dr. John Noseworthy in a live broadcast at Mayo Clinic.

It was the first time " Almanac " ever broadcast a complete live show from a location other than its usual St. Paul studios. The political talk show's crew set up the stage and cameras in Phillips Hall of the Siebens Building. About 325 people attended, including some local lawmakers and Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede, who chatted with hosts Eric Eskola and Cathy Wurzer at the beginning of the show.

Mayo Clinic invited "Almanac" to Rochester to help commemorate the 150th anniversary of the clinic's founding, which Noseworthy described as March 21, 1864, when Dr. William Worrall Mayo came to town to open a practice.

The first question posed to Noseworthy was about Gov. Mark Dayton's announcement Friday that he wants Mayo Clinic to research the possible benefits of medical marijuana, especially for children with epilepsy.

A bill to legalize medical marijuana now is dead this legislative session, which led Dayton to announce he will request $2.2 million from the state's general fund for the study.

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"We would conduct the study to see if medical marijuana in a liquid or pill form can help children with epilepsy who cannot be helped in any other way," Noseworthy said.

The "Almanac" hosts also asked him about how Mayo Clinic is dealing with the Affordable Care Act. Known as Obamacare, it will increase the number of Americans with health insurance, but it is not doing much to modernize the way health care is delivered in this country, Noseworthy said.

He said the clinic is preparing for changes in the industry that Obamacare is expected to bring.

"Operational efficiency is critical when revenues will be reduced," he said, adding Mayo has slowed down its hiring rate along with finding ways to increase efficiency.

The clinic also is looking into ways to decrease its cost of care as it faces Medicare challenges.

"Medicare reimbursement doesn't pay for all the cost, so we're trying to reduce the cost of care while increasing safety," he said.

Yet, Mayo needs to stick to its patient-centered philosophy, he said.

"We need to work efficiently and lower cost, but the patients can't notice. And our staff is up to it," he said.

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With a number of other guests Friday night, "Almanac" addressed other topics during the show, including some of the bigger political issues this legislative session and how the St. Paul-based Center for Victims of Torture is trying to help Syrian refugees.

There were also features on how the relatively large Somali population in Rochester is progressing and how Sen. David Senjem has taken up jogging to lose weight and improve his health.

Throughout the one-hour show were bits of Rochester history, including a light-hearted segment in which the "Almanac" producers had members of the audience draw pictures of key historical events in the founding and growth of Mayo Clinic.

Related Topics: MAYO CLINIC
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