U Health center signs with firm

Joel Sawyer

The University’s Academic Health Center and HealthPartners, one of Minnesota’s largest managed care organizations, signed a five-year educational affiliation contract Wednesday.
Under the agreement, HealthPartners physicians and pharmacists, many of whom are University faculty members, will train University medical and pharmacy students at St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center and other HealthPartners sites. The agreement is part of an ongoing effort by the health center to find support for medical education and research outside the University.
HealthPartners owns numerous hospitals and clinics in Minnesota and is the parent company of several managed health care plans, including Group Health and Ramsey Health Care. HealthPartners provides health care services and coverage to more than 600,000 people.
The agreement strengthens the long-standing relationship the University’s health center has had with St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center, said Frank Cerra, provost of the health center.
St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center, which was recently bought out by HealthPartners, has served as a training hospital for University physicians for more than 50 years. The arrangement lays the groundwork for training other health care professionals, such as nurses and dentists, at many HealthPartners sites.
Cerra said HealthPartners would pick up the cost for physicians in residence at St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center, and the University would reimburse HealthPartners for the costs associated with teaching medical students.
The agreement with HealthPartners came two days after a separate action in which the University Board of Regents gave administrators approval to finalize the merger of University Hospital and Fairview Health System.
The merger will see the University transfer University Hospital, its parking ramp and other assets valued at $150.3 million to Fairview in exchange for $87.5 million and support for the education and research programs of the health center.
Cerra said the education and research relationships formed with HealthPartners and Fairview are two of many such relationships the health center has with hospitals and clinics in the state. There are 988 training and education sites used by the University in the state, Cerra said, including Hennepin County Medical Center.