Regents elect medical center trustees

Joel Sawyer

Although the merger between University Hospital and Fairview Health System has not been finalized, officials from the two institutions have taken steps to ensure that the proposed Fairview-University Medical Center will have a governing body when it begins operation Jan. 1.
The University’s Board of Regents elected seven members to a 14-member board of trustees for the proposed medical center Sept. 5 at their monthly meeting in Morris, Minn. Fairview Associates, a group that elects trustees to boards at other Fairview hospitals, chose the other seven members in August.
According to the merger agreement between Fairview and the University the school will maintain a majority position on the new medical center’s board. The board will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the medical center. It would also ensure that the medical center complies with Fairview policies and procedures.
Among the members elected by the regents are business and community leaders. University faculty elected to the board include Edith Leyasmeyer, dean of the University’s School of Public Health and Roby Thompson, head of orthopedic surgery at the medical school and chief medical officer for the University of Minnesota Health System. Thompson and Leyasmeyer will serve three-year terms.
Fairview’s appointees also represent a cross section of community and business leaders and Fairview officials.
In addition to the elected trustees, the board will include the dean of the University’s Medical School and the chief medical officers of University hospital and Fairview-Riverside Medical Center.
The regent-elected trustees will be responsible for ensuring that the University’s Academic Health Center’s education and research mission is preserved. The center consists of seven health care schools and University Hospital and Clinic.
The board will be accountable to the Fairview System Board of Directors, on which the University will have a minority presence.
The University is selling the hospital and its assets to Fairview in order to save the hospital from financial ruin, officials say, and to provide University faculty and students with an expanded patient base for education and research.
University and Fairview officials planned on signing a finalized merger agreement by Oct. 1 but say they have underestimated the time needed to work out the details of the deal. They expect to have an agreement signed sometime in October and intend to begin joint operations on Jan. 1.
In other administrative moves, Fairview officials announced in late August that Peter Rapp, who now serves as the general director of the University hospital, will be senior vice president and administrator of the new medical center.
At the same time Fairview also announced that Pam Tibbetts, current senior vice president and administrator of Fairview-Riverside Medical Center, will be the new senior vice president of clinical services integration. Don Berglund, a senior vice president and administrator at Fairview Ridges Hospital in Burnsville, will become the medical center’s chief operating officer.
The other University-elected board members are John Morrison, chair and owner of Central Bank Group, appointed for a three-year term; Dr. Jonathan Ravdin, chair of University’s department of medicine, appointed for a two-year term; Michael Dougherty, president and chief executive officer of Dougherty Dawkins Inc., appointed for a one-year term; Thomas Madison, interim chief executive officer of Minnesota Mutual Life Insurance Co., appointed for a one-year term; and Nellie Johnson, vice president of Walker Health Services Inc., appointed for a one-year term.