University seeks critical support from State for University of Minnesota Health
The University must acquire and operate the flagship health care facilities before a Fairview/Sanford merger to prevent out-of-state control of Minnesota’s academic health system
Today, the University of Minnesota announced its preliminary request for State of Minnesota support of its health system (UMN Health). UMN Health will take bold steps to accelerate increased access, equity and quality to the University’s leading research and clinical care while safeguarding Minnesota’s public academic health assets.
“Before us is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to channel the University’s 170-plus year legacy of discovery, service and world-class impact to elevate the health of Minnesotans for generations to come,” said University President Joan Gabel. “But we can only do so through a strong partnership with the State. The positive return on this investment is clear.”
The preliminary legislative request is for phase one of the next generation of UMN Health. Phase one aims to:
- Acquire flagship health care facilities — University Medical Center East and West Bank facilities, Masonic Children’s Hospital and the Clinics and Surgery Center. Investment includes the transfer of facilities, as well as funding for workforce needs, union contracts and new leadership for a University-operated organization. Estimated preliminary request: $300 million.
- Operate the flagship facilities. Investment includes an injection of 90 days of operating capital — a common level for hospitals — to cover payroll, supplies, professional services, etc. The funding will also provide time to turn around operating losses and begin generating positive financial results. Estimated preliminary request: $650 million.
This request is subject to formal Board of Regents action, expected on March 10. Initial estimates are subject to change and are dependent on many factors, but they are presented to advance this critically important public health discussion about how best to address Minnesota’s current and future health care needs.
“We must forge a new path: one that centers on the needs of Minnesotans’ health care now and for decades to come. One that recognizes the economic benefits of continuing our best-in-class health care sector, including the education and training of future health care professionals. And one that recognizes the treatments and cures U of M researchers will discover,” said Myron Frans, senior vice president for finance and operations.
University officials stated they oppose the proposed merger between Fairview Health Services and Sanford Health, as the merger is currently proposed with a target date of May 31, 2023.
“Control of Minnesota’s academic health care assets by a South Dakota-based entity is a non-starter,” said Dr. Jakub Tolar, dean of the Medical School and vice president for clinical affairs. “The charitable assets of the University’s academic health facilities and operations have been supported by Minnesotans and must be governed by the University of Minnesota.”
The University’s comprehensive mission of education, research and public service provides significant benefits to Minnesotans. The Medical School is the eighth-ranked public medical school in the country for NIH research funds. The University is one of the few nationwide with colleges and programs spanning all disciplines of the health sciences, including human and animal health. The institution also currently partners with more than 3,000 clinical training sites to serve the health care needs of Minnesotans in every corner of the state.
“In all of our health science professions and particularly when we collaborate, we learn from our students, we apply our innovation and we change care and care delivery in response to the science,” Tolar said. “This is how we advance. This is how we do the best for our patients.”
The University remains committed to partnering with all health care providers in Minnesota. Presently, the University collaborates with Fairview under the M Health Fairview system that is scheduled to operate through 2026. University leaders urge state lawmakers to support new investments that center the needs of Minnesotans and ensure the continued strength of key public assets.
About the University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota. Visit system.umn.edu.
About University of Minnesota Health Sciences
At the University of Minnesota, we are treating patients, educating tomorrow’s health professionals, and making discoveries that improve health care in Minnesota and around the world. The University is among the top 10 public research universities in the United States and our academic health care system treats more than one million patients each year. With thousands of health science learners throughout the U of M System, the U of M trains approximately 70% of Minnesota’s health professionals through our nationally recognized interprofessional education curriculum and thousands of clinical training partnerships across Minnesota — many in rural or underserved communities. Learn more at health.umn.edu.