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UMN and Fairview running out of time to solve partnership conflict

As the Fairview-Sanford merger remains delayed, the next month could be critical for the University to determine its healthcare partnership.
Photo by Shalom Berhane
Fairview Riverside Medical Center on February 16, 2023.

The next month will be crucial for the University of Minnesota in determining whether to rework their partnership with Fairview Health Services, according to Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Myron Frans.

Frans said at the Board of Regents retreat in Victoria on Thursday the University could create a new agreement with South Dakota-based Sanford Health, Fairview’s proposed merger partner, if they cannot reach a new long-term deal with Fairview soon.

Fairview and Sanford originally expected to have their merger complete by March 31, but after two delays the merger is still yet to be official. 

“We are actively engaged in trying to come up with the right solution as soon as we can,” Frans said at the meeting. “The clock is ticking. This has been going on for a year now. … We all need to resolve this and move on.”

The University, which opposes the Fairview-Sanford merger because its structure would give control to an out-of-state entity, requested $950 million from the state legislature to reacquire ownership of its campus hospitals. Although this request was denied, lawmakers have discussed hosting a special session in the coming months after Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has had more time to investigate the merger, according to the Star Tribune.

Frans said it is important to solve the “partner problem” between the University, Fairview and Sanford for a special session to happen in the legislature regarding the future of the University’s health care.

The current agreement between the University and Fairview runs through 2026, and either party must give notice by the end of this year if they do not wish to renew the agreement.

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