University of Minnesota to buy Fairview teaching hospitals

<div>The University of Minnesota.</div> <strong>(FOX 9)</strong>
The University of Minnesota.
(FOX 9)

MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The University of Minnesota (U of M) is set to purchase the four academic health facilities at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center.

Fairview Health Services, the U of M, and the University of Minnesota Physicians all signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) that outlines the university's intent to purchase the four health facilities: the East and West Bank campuses, M Health Fairview Masonic Children's Hospital and M Health Fairview Clinics and Surgery Center. The letter was approved Friday by the U of M Board of Regents.

The U of M plans to complete the full purchase of the facilities by Dec. 31, 2027. Fairview Health Services and the U of M say they plan to share management and governance with Fairview during the transition period.

Fairview and the U of M merged in 1997 and have both operated the medical center since then. This comes after a failed merger between Fairview Health Services and Sanford Health, based in Sioux Falls, North Dakota. The merger was opposed by Minnesota lawmakers and the U of M, with concerns about an out-of-state company owning the university's teaching hospitals. The merger did not move forward after both companies stated a lack of support in the endeavor.

"We are grateful for the collaboration and shared successes we have experienced with Fairview Health Services over the years — M Health Fairview patients and all Minnesotans are better off because of the work of our talented teams," said U of M Interim President Jeff Ettinger. "We also agree we will need to step up in new and different ways for the future health of our state. This LOI, and the discussions ahead of us, are critical steps toward more fully integrating education, research, and patient care to better serve Minnesotans statewide."

Fairview says patient care and day-to-day operations will be unchanged during the transition. The facilities will continue to be under the M Health Fairview brand until further agreements are made.

There will be no layoffs planned as a result of the purchase, Fairview says. It continued to say transitions will be planned with staff.

"This is a critical first step towards a new and reimagined relationship that will better meet the current and future needs of our patients and our community," said Fairview Health Services President and CEO James Hereford. "Our patients and our employees, who contribute significantly to our success, will remain the heart of our organizations. Today's announcement is designed to provide clarity on our collaborative path forward."