SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sanford Health on Tuesday announced an intention to combine with Fairview Health Services out of Minneapolis. But it’s not the first time Sanford’s story has intertwined with Fairview’s. Sanford confirmed in late March 2013 that it was in early merger discussions with Fairview Health, which controlled and still controls the University of Minnesota Medical Center.
Then-Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said she wanted the public to be involved and scheduled a public hearing. That April, Sanford was questioned by Swanson about merger talks with Fairview Health. Then-Fairview CEO Chuck Mooty was one of several people who testified.
“Given the relationship Fairview has with the University, Fairview will not move forward unless the University agrees that it makes sense to do so,” Mooty said in 2013.
“We were invited to the discussions by Fairview Health Services, and we would assume that if the University would object then Fairview would provide us the direction we would need to have on that,” then-Sanford Health executive vice president Dave Link said in 2013.
Counsel for the University of Minnesota shared concern.
“We have very serious and important concerns about protecting the public interest, protecting the land grant institution,” University of Minnesota general counsel Mark Rotenberg said in 2013.
One day after Swanson questioned Sanford Health, Minnesota lawmakers introduced legislation that threatened to put an end to any deal.
“This is the University of Minnesota,” Democratic Rep. Joe Atkins said in 2013. “It would be like selling our University of Minnesota to Canada or to Iowa or something like that.”
Later in April 2013, KELOLAND News reported that Sanford called off the merger talks. In a letter, then-Sanford CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft said the health system had a philosophy of only going where it is invited.