Fairview, Sanford delay merger deadline 2 months

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Amid continued scrutiny into their proposed merger, Fairview Health Services and Sanford Health have pushed back their self-imposed deadline by two months.

Friday, Fairview released a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, confirming the decision.

“We have voluntarily extended our target planning date for completion of the merger to May 31, 2023,” a Fairview spokesperson said. “Consistent with our statements at the Attorney General’s community meetings and at the legislature, we continue to work cooperatively with the Attorney General to ensure they have the information necessary for their review. In the meantime, we continue to do the important planning work within our organizations to be ready to best serve our patients and people on day one following close.”

A spokesman for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison released the following statement:

“Since Attorney General Ellison’s appearance at the legislative hearing last week, the parties have agreed to extend their self-imposed March 31 deadline to complete the merger to May 31. The parties, however, have not yet fully complied with our repeated requests for information. Additional time is not enough on its own to ensure that Minnesotans’ interests are protected: the parties need to provide full responses to the Attorney General’s Office’s requests with sufficient time for review and analysis. We are considering all options available to us to secure compliance. Attorney General Ellison is also aware of efforts legislators are exploring and has been in conversation with interested legislators.”

Spokesman for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison

The companies announced their intent to merge back in March. Since then, Ellison’s office held several public forums to allow Minnesotans to provide feedback on the merger. Ellison’s office also called for more time to review the proposal last month.

Last week, medical professionals and students from the University of Minnesota Medical School rallied in protest of the proposed merger.

University of Minnesota leaders have expressed concerns about the prospect of the university’s medical center funding being controlled by an out-of-state entity. Union representatives have been skeptical about what a merger would mean for hospital staffing and patient care. Other critics have said a merger would reduce competition and increase prices for patients.

The companies, meanwhile, have said the plan would “strengthen our financial footing” and improve service for patients.

Earlier Friday, University of Minnesota Board of Regents Chairman Ken Powell criticized Fairview and Sanford for “clinging to a March 31 deadline and repeating that they intend to proceed ‘with or without the University.'” Click here to read his full statement.

This is a developing story. Stay with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS for the latest updates on air and online.