Bill to block Fairview takeover

Two legislators announced bills to prevent a takeover of Fairview Health Services by any out-of-state entity, including Sanford Health.

by Cody Nelson

Amid growing discussion of a potential merger, two House Democrats unveiled legislation on Monday that would prevent any non-Minnesota-based entity from taking control or ownership of Fairview Health Services.

Representatives Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, and Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, introduced two bills on Monday, the first of which would permanently prevent takeover by an out-of-state entity. The second would stop it through 2014.

“If we need to pass legislation to protect our University of Minnesota hospitals, then that is absolutely what we should do,” Schoen said, according to a news release. “The U of M hospitals are too important to our state’s education system, our economy, and our health care market to not be controlled by a Minnesota entity.”

President Eric Kaler proposed the University take over Fairview instead of Dakota-based Sanford Health, which had been discussing a merger with Fairview.

Both Fairview and Sanford leaders said they would stop discussions of Fairview takeover if the University objects, according to a Minnesota Daily article.

In a Monday letter, Atkins asked acting Fairview CEO Chuck Mooty to testify before the House Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee at a hearing for the bills on April 17.

“It should not surprise you that I, along with most of my colleagues in the Minnesota House, have heard from many people with deep concerns that an institution of such great importance to Minnesota might be controlled by a board in Sioux Falls, South Dakota,” Atkins said in the letter.

The House Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee is charged with examining transactions that impact Minnesota consumers and providing Legislative oversight of the state’s charitable and non-profit entities.