OCTOBER 5, 2011

Arizona Appeals Domestic-Partners Case to 9th Circuit Court

Arizona Asks Court to Lift Injunction Blocking Necessary Budget Cuts

PHOENIX – The State of Arizona has filed a petition asking that a larger panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hear a case involving the state’s elimination of health care benefits for domestic partners.

The move to eliminate those benefits, made in 2009 in response to a state budget crisis, was found unconstitutional earlier this month by a smaller, three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court. Prior to a rule-change pushed through by the last administration, the State of Arizona had never before offered domestic-partner benefits. When budget realities forced Governor Brewer and the Legislature to eliminate those benefits, the state took action equally and across-the-board – terminating benefits for the domestic partners of all state employees, regardless of sexual orientation.

“I ask that the 9th Circuit Court take another look at this case,” said Governor Brewer. “The statute signed into law in 2009 merely returned the State to the status quo regarding benefits.  This represented just one of the many difficult decisions that had to be made in confronting an unprecedented budget crisis.”

Upon taking the state’s reins in January 2009, Governor Brewer inherited a multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall. Tough decisions were the order of the day. Since the state had only recently extended health coverage to the domestic partners of state employees, the Legislature and Governor Brewer pursued eliminating this expansion as part of a host of cost-cutting moves.

But a group of state employees and their domestic partners filed suit in January 2010 to block the state, and the U.S. District Court granted an injunction. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that injunction in recent weeks, explicitly noting in its decision that Arizona’s Constitutional ban on gay marriage provides no recourse for gay couples looking to obtain state health care benefits.

“This issue isn’t about whether the state should provide health benefits to domestic partners,” said Governor Brewer. “It’s about whether the duly-elected officials of a state will maintain strict authority over its finances, or whether that control will be ceded to a court bent on installing a social agenda.”

OCTOBER 5, 2011

Mayo Clinic Medical School will expand to Arizona

Collaboration with Arizona State University will include advanced degree in Science of Health Care Delivery

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Mayo Clinic announced the expansion of Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn., to Arizona, creating a branch to be called Mayo Medical School—Arizona Campus. The expansion signals Mayo’s continued commitment to enhancing its national and international leadership in patient-centered academic excellence. It will provide Mayo with a platform to continue to redefine the field of medical education, training the medical professional workforce of tomorrow in team-based, high quality and affordable care for patients across a broad demographic.

The Mayo Medical School – Arizona Campus will include a key collaboration with Arizona State University (ASU). A major differentiating feature at this new branch of Mayo Medical School: all students will complete a specialized master’s degree in the Science of Health Care Delivery granted by ASU, concurrently with their medical degree from Mayo Medical School, believed to be the first medical school to offer such a program.

“This is one of the most important and exciting initiatives we can undertake,” explains John Noseworthy, M.D., Mayo Clinic president and CEO. “For Mayo Clinic, this new branch of Mayo Medical School is firmly aligned with Mayo’s commitment to patient-centered academic excellence and redefining the field of medical education. Together with ASU, we will create the health care workforce of the future.”

Since 2003, Mayo and ASU have worked together on a variety of successful efforts, including a joint nursing education program, collaborative research projects, joint faculty appointments and dual degree programs.

“Mayo Medical School is believed to be the first medical school in the U.S. to offer an embedded master’s degree in the science of health care delivery,” says ASU President Michael Crow. “ASU is proud to partner with Mayo in this innovative approach to providing future physicians with the complementary competencies needed to deliver high-value care.”

“This is very good news for all of Arizona,” says Governor Jan Brewer. “It’s a great example of how Mayo Clinic and ASU are working together to continue to raise Arizona’s profile as a national and international hub for innovation in medical education and health care delivery.”

The branch of Mayo Medical School will be based on Mayo’s Scottsdale campus in buildings to be remodeled and retrofitted expressly for this purpose. A projected enrollment of 48 students per class will allow the individual attention that has become a hallmark of Mayo’s tradition of academic excellence. Faculty will be drawn from Mayo’s deep roster of instructional resources and augmented by experts from ASU, providing a broad array of educational experiences. The curriculum will build on the recognized strengths of Mayo Medical School, including a world-class faculty, a state-of-the-art curriculum and small class sizes.

 “The continuing success of our partnership with ASU allows us the collective ability to redesign medical education in ways that align with the future of health care delivery,” says Wyatt Decker, M.D., vice president, Mayo Clinic and CEO for Mayo Clinic in Arizona. “We are very excited that the expansion of Mayo Medical School to Arizona will further enhance our leadership role in training the next generation of physicians.”

The specialized Science of Health Care Delivery masters degree will address the changing needs of 21st century health care delivery through curriculum developed collaboratively by Mayo Clinic and ASU faculty and delivered within the conventional four-year medical school schedule. Curricular components will include social and behavioral determinants of health, health care policy, health economics, management science, biomedical informatics, systems engineering and value principles of health care.

For additional information on this topic, please go to: http://dev.newsblog.mayoclinic.org/