U of M Board of Regents approval clears path to outline a new fully integrated academic health system

October 9, 2015

The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents today approved a non-binding Letter of Intent to explore combining Fairview Health Services and University of Minnesota Physicians (UMP) into a fully integrated academic health system called University of Minnesota Health.

“We have agreed on a set of core principles to guide us moving forward,” said Board of Regents Chair Dean Johnson. “Clinical care, research, training and education are at the center of our mission and vision. The Board is eager to continue discussions with Fairview and UMP, ensuring the needs of each organization, its patients and communities are met.”

“This Letter of Intent signals a commitment from each organization to provide exceptional clinical care today while fostering the leading-edge discoveries that will transform the field of medicine tomorrow,” said University President Eric Kaler. “A new University of Minnesota Health will strengthen our shared academic mission to improve health, discover new treatments and cures and educate the health workforce Minnesotans will need to help people lead longer, healthier lives.”

The next phase of discussions will be based on a set of core principles that concern governance and organizational structure, clinical practice and physician leadership, management and operations, and financials. A successful integrated system will also enhance financial support for the U’s Medical and other health sciences schools. A definitive agreement for the three boards to consider is expected in spring 2016. In the past week, the Boards of Fairview and UMP voted to approve the Letter of Intent.

More information on work toward integrated academic health system is available here.

Supporting student-athletes
The Board also approved schematic designs and financing for the Athletes Village project, which will further support the Gopher Athletic Department and its 725 student-athletes.

To date, more than $76.5 million has been raised. While fundraising continues, the Board endorsed President Kaler’s plan to use long-term debt to finance and complete the project. Additional fundraising will be used to lessen the debt load. Twenty million in debt capacity has also been reserved as a source of financing for a NCAA competition-level track on the East Bank campus and other investments to facilitate gender equity and Title IX compliance.

More information about the $166 million, 320,000 square foot Athletes Village is available here.

Moving priorities forward
Also receiving approval this month: the University Progress Card, President Kaler’s six-year capital plan and the 2016 state capital request to the Minnesota Legislature and Governor.

A robust tool to track progress on high-level institutional goals, the Progress Card:

  • focuses oversight on a limited number of strategically measurable goals that establish an at-a-glance road map for the future. Among these measures: 4- and 6- year graduation rates, 4-year graduation rates of Pell-awarded students, research and development expenditures, medical school ranking, faculty awards, participation in the employee engagement survey and progress toward Operational Excellence.
  • provides insights into important trends that are a signal of institutional strength. These trends are important to monitor, but the University alone cannot significantly influence them. Among these measures: Twin Cities transfer student 3-year graduation rate, graduate and professional degrees awarded, athletics graduation success rate.

The six-year capital plan and 2016 state capital request propose more than $300 million in projects to address critical facility needs across the U of M system. Four key initiatives guide these requests: addressing critical buildings, advancing the health sciences, modernizing St. Paul campus research laboratories and expanding capacity in STEM programs.

In an update on implementation efforts of the UMTC strategic plan, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Karen Hanson outlined significant progress in many areas. Team-taught Grand Challenge courses launched this fall and a vigorous campus wide effort is under way to expand high-impact Grand Challenges research collaborations. Hanson said priorities moving forward include continued engagement with the campus community, alumni and donors.

The Board also held a work session to discuss enrollment management. Regents provided input on enrollment management principles and objectives to help shape the University’s enrollment strategy system wide over the next decade. The session included discussion of many topics, including transfer students and ACT scores. A complementary work session on aligning tuition and aid philosophy with enrollment management strategy is planned for December.

See President Kaler's report for the Board.

The Board will meet again on December 10-11. For more, go to regents.umn.edu.

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