University interests in merger

A potential Fairview-Sanford Health merger should not contrast with University interests.

Daily Editorial Board

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson made public a potential Fairview Health Services and Sanford Health merger Tuesday. CEOs from the two hospital conglomerates say they’re in the informal planning stages of a possible merger.

Fairview owns the University of Minnesota’s teaching hospital, the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview and University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital. Fairview has operated the University’s medical center and clinics since 1997.

South Dakota-based Sanford Health — named after a University alumnus — would potentially acquire one of the nation’s top hospitals, the University of Minnesota Medical Center, according to a U.S. News & World Report. Sanford, self-described as the largest rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation, does have experience with operating medical training institutions. Currently, it is unclear how the nonprofit would affect clinical training, research or control of University medical facilities.

While this potential merger is seeing the light of day now, largely due to Swanson’s doing, the University’s interests need to be heard in talks between these two nonprofits. The state assets in this deal are of great importance to the University, as well as all Minnesotans. Across the nation, many academic medical centers are being acquired by universities who sold them in the past. This deal would further private control over the University’s educational medical facilities.

Swanson said she hopes Sanford and Fairview will take part in a public hearing she plans to hold regarding the potential deal April 7. Though more details due to be released are necessary to critique the potential merger, the University should be conscious of its great stake in any merger.