In 1984, the Board of Trustees approved plans for Mayo Clinic to begin development of new Mayo Clinic group practices at distant sites. Dr. W. Eugene Mayberry, chairman of the Board of Governors at the time, explained the thinking behind this decision and some of its implications.
The rationale for expanding outside of Rochester encompassed several points:
- Altruistic: Mayo had a sincere belief that it had a unique model for health care delivery that served people well. The Board of Trustees felt Mayo could be of even greater service to the public by extending the Mayo system beyond the reaches of the current region.
- Growth: Mayo has always grown since its inception and growth has allowed it to be of a size to justify having all the necessary components of a tertiary, highly specialized national health care resource. The Board of Trustees felt Mayo needed to continue to grow to provide the programs in education and research that it had traditionally provided. And, according to Mayberry at the time, "We need to grow because we don’t know how not to grow. We don’t have any experience in that."
- Changes in Health Care in America in 1984: The Board of Trustees thought that Mayo Clinic was the best poised institution in the United States to lead a physician-directed, multi-system practice of medicine in the United States.
- HMO’s and Insurance Systems: In 1984, various HMO's and insurance systems were increasingly restricting patients from coming to Rochester. For example, the number of patients coming to Mayo from Canada in 1984 was only a quarter of what it used to be because of the restrictions of its National Health System.
- Midwest Population Growth: The population growth in the Midwest, which is where Mayo derived the majority of its patients, was not projected to grow or to grow only slightly. If Mayo expected going to grow and expand its services, then it needed to look to the growth areas in the Sun Belt and not expect those patients always to come to Rochester.