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St. Peter hospital head rails against Mayo as an 'invasive species'

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As the Mayo Clinic hits a growth spurt and plans for expansion projects, at least one local hospital is feeling the squeeze.

The Star Tribune highlights the fight of Colleen Spike, the head of River's Edge, the city-owned hospital in St. Peter. The paper asserts that River's Edge is one of a growing number of hospitals around the country that fear being swallowed up by health care giants. And Mayo is, Spike says, one of those giants.

Spike has even complained to the state attorney about what she deems Mayo’s “dangerous monopoly” and “predatory threats” in steering patients toward its own facilities.

The conflict is happening as independent hospitals feel pressure to align with bigger systems, says the Strib, and the Mayo clinic says Spike's accusations are not true. River’s Edge lost $727,000 last year, the paper says, and Spike points to Mayo as a key factor.

“It’s distressing to us to be accused of sabotaging River’s Edge,” the Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Elizabeth Osborne tells the paper. “The hospital has been struggling, and it’s only natural to look for someone to put the blame on and say who’s at fault.”

The Strib has some numbers that show the diminishing number of independent hospitals over the years, and talks to people who find the trend distressing and those who see it as a sign of improved health care.

But Spike is having none of it. In a letter written to AG Lori Swanson with two other physicians, Spike calls Mayo an “invasive species” that is drives away doctors and drives up health care costs.

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