SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A bill in Minnesota that passed in the legislature could essentially kill the proposed Sanford-Fairview merger.
The bill would expand the power of the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office to oversee large-scale transactions like this one when it comes to healthcare facilities.
The proposed merger would impact nearly 80,000 employees in the two systems. Sanford employs about 47,000 people while Fairview employs about 31,000 employees.
Opponents of the bill say it goes too far.
“I’ve always been opposed to the Attorney General or any government agency getting in the middle of this,” Rep. Danny Nadeau said.
Representative Nadeau says Fairview is struggling financially and if a merger doesn’t happen, it’ll fall directly on taxpayers to bail it out. He says the Attorney General shouldn’t be the one who arbitrarily gets to decide if a merger should take place.
“I am so violently opposed to letting the hammer of the AG’s office possibly get in the way of reasonable transactions for organizations that are committed to serving the people of Minnesota,” Nadeau said.
“Our health care system has to be about the public’s interest, this is about the health of the people of Minnesota and our economy,” Rep. Tina Liebling said.
But those in favor of the bill, say it only makes sense that the Attorney General gets involved.
“Somebody has to be the arbiter, somebody has to look out for the public interest and I think it’s entirely appropriate that somebody be the Attorney General who is after all the people’s lawyer,” Rep. Liebling said.
In a statement to KELOLAND News, Sanford Health said it will comply with new requirements if the bill is signed into law.
The statement goes on to say Sanford remains confident in the benefits of the merger for the patients and communities.