Ceremony finalizes Fairview merger

Bei Hu

More than a year of negotiations between the University and Fairview Health System culminated Monday in the signing of two documents at a ceremony.
In front of representatives from both institutions, as well as television and newspaper reporters, University and Fairview officials put their signatures on the Academic Affiliation Agreement and the Asset Transfer and Statutory Merger Agreement. The documents finalized the multi-million-dollar merger of the University Hospital and Clinic and Fairview Riverside Medical Center.
The merged entity is named Fairview-University Medical Center, a division of Fairview Health System.
The signing ceremony took place at the Brennan Center on Fairview-University Medical Center’s Riverside campus, once known as Fairview Riverside Medical Center. The University was represented by University President Nils Hasselmo, Academic Health Center Provost Frank Cerra and Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations Jo Anne Jackson.
“We truly believe this is the beginning of something great,” said Royce Sanner, chairman of the Fairview Health System Board.
Sanner’s enthusiasm was shared by Hasselmo. In his speech at the ceremony, the University president called the affiliation “a constructive step in ensuring at this time the health and survival of a world-class medical institution.”
Hasselmo referred in his speech to the University Hospital, which has gone through financial difficulties in recent years because of a declining patient base.
Implementation of the agreements began on Wednesday, when about 4,000 University Hospital employees became Fairview staff members. Before the affiliation, Fairview Riverside Medical Center had more than 3,100 employees. Fairview’s news release stated that the health system is expected to maintain a staff of about 14,000.
During the presentation, William Maxwell, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Fairview Health System, outlined the plan for program integration within the Fairview-University Medical Center.
Under the plan, most inpatient medical and surgical care — including organ transplant — will remain on the University campus. The Riverside campus will shoulder most responsibilities in obstetrics, short-term stays, subacute care and rehabilitation.
Addressing the concern that the merger will hurt research and education within the Academic Health Center, Cerra said, “It (the affiliation) is committed to our mission of quality patient care, education and research.”
Hailing the affiliation as “a cornerstone,” Cerra added, “It preserves the quality cutting edge patient care that characterizes University Hospital for all Minnesotans in Fairview-University Medical Center.”