UMN Board of Regents sign letter of intent to renew partnership with Fairview

The University medical school will receive annual funds from Fairview if the agreement is approved in September.

by Katrina Pross

The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents approved a letter of intent on Monday to renew a relationship between the University, University of Minnesota Physicians and Fairview Health Services this fall. 

In the new agreement, Fairview will give annual financial contributions to the University’s Medical School and the partnership will unite the two organizations under one brand. The current contract between the two entities will expire in September.

The letter of intent was approved by Fairview’s board of directors and the University of Minnesota Physician’s board of directors last week.

“This renewed and re-envisioned partnership with Fairview has been a priority,” said University President Eric Kaler at the Monday meeting.

The previous partnership was scheduled to expire May 31 of this year but regents extended it to June in order to create the letter of intent. The letter outlines the broad terms that will be negotiated prior to final approval of the new agreement in September, including annual funds from Fairview to the University medical school.

The final agreements are scheduled to be made in September, with the new partnership formally beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

“This is clearly a critical and necessary step in redefining our partnership so that together we can deliver on this shared vision,” said Brad Benson, a member of University of Minnesota Physicians who presented at the regents meeting.

Agreements in the proposed partnership include an annual contribution from Fairview to the University’s medical school each year. The financial support will start at $35 million in 2018 and increase to $50 million in 2022.

The letter of intent also addresses a commitment to improve the rank of the medical school, combining the University and Fairview into one brand.The partnership helps outline that M Health is both a health destination and an academic and research institution, Benson said at the meeting.

The new agreement would be in effect through 2026, with the option for a 10-year extension in 2023.

“[The new partnership is] a commitment to quality care, patient safety and hospital and clinic efficiency. The vision behind the letter of intent is that those three priorities are not conflicting, but rather mutually reinforcing,” said Doug Peterson, a member of the general counsel for the board. 

The University is committed to finalizing the agreement in September, said Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Brian Burnett at the meeting. 

“We do not envision asking for an extension anymore. We need this deadline … failure is not an option with respect to deadlines,” Burnett said. 

Many of the regents were supportive of the letter of intent and the partnership. 

“From my standpoint, this may be the most important vote that [the Regents] take … this is really up there in terms of our ability and willingness to effect change,” said Regent Richard Beeson.