Sanford and Fairview delay merger further at Minnesota official's request

The extension is in response to a request from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office is reviewing the potential merger.

Sanford's corporate headquarters in Sioux Falls, S.D. Handout.
Sanford's corporate headquarters in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Contributed photo

SIOUX FALLS — Sanford Health's proposed merger with Twin Cities-based Fairview Health Services will be delayed until after May 31, the systems announced in a joint statement.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison had asked for an extension before the agreement is finalized. Ellison's office is reviewing the potential merger which has drawn criticism in the state from officials and the nurses union.

“In the interest of ongoing cooperation with the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General, we have extended the target closing date for our merger until after May 31st and agreed to their request for 90 days’ notice prior to closing at a future date,” the two health systems said in a joint statement released on Monday, April 3.

Earlier, at Ellison’s request, Sanford and Fairview agreed in February to push back the target date of the merger by two months to May 31.

“We respect the thorough review underway by the Attorney General’s Office and are honoring their request for more time as we continue work toward finalizing our combination. We remain confident in the benefits of the merger for our people, patients and communities and our shared vision to advance world-class health care for all we serve,” the joint statement said.


Fairview’s health system includes M Health Fairview University of Minnesota, and the possible absorption into a combined system has prompted concerns by Minnesota officials.

Sanford and Fairview executives have said they are willing to sell the University of Minnesota Medical Center to the state, but also have said they are prepared to honor their commitment to the university under a partnership agreement that runs through 2026.

M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center East Bank Hospital.jpg
M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center, East Bank Hospital in Minneapolis.
Photo courtesy of Fairview Health Services

A merged health system would have its corporate headquarters in Sioux Falls, would be chartered under North Dakota or South Dakota law, and would have a “material corporate presence” in the Twin Cities, Sanford and Fairview executives have said.

According to a non-binding letter of intent , signed in September and made public in February, the name of the combined system would be Sanford Health. Facilities in a merged organization would be able to keep their names “consistent with the best interest of the organization’s business objectives,” the letter of intent said.

The Minnesota Nurses Association is opposed to the merger and has argued that it would not improve health services, citing examples of facilities Fairview closed after acquiring them.

Fairview and Sanford have said their combined resources would enable additional investments that would benefit Minnesota communities they serve, and the $1.5 billion in donations by namesake benefactor Denny Sanford would be available to the Fairview system.

Patrick Springer first joined The Forum in 1985. He covers a wide range of subjects including health care, energy and population trends. Email address:
Phone: 701-367-5294
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