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Minnesota AG seeks input on Sanford, Fairview merger: 'We've heard people are concerned'

Minnesota's attorney general plans to host several public hearings in early 2023 to collect input on the proposed merger of Sanford Health and Fairview Health, the Star Tribune reported Nov. 22. 

On Nov. 15, Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health and Minneapolis-based Fairview Health announced their intent to merge in 2023. The combined nonprofit system would be called Sanford Health, headquartered in Sioux Falls, and include 78,000 employees and more than 50 hospitals, making it among the largest providers in the Upper Midwest. 

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison plans to host three or four public hearings, likely beginning in January and completed by the first quarter, to collect public input on the deal as part of a broader investigation his office is leading on potential anti-competitive effects. Dates for the hearings have not yet been determined. 

"We've heard that people are concerned about it," Mr. Ellison said during a news conference reported by the Star Tribune. "I can tell you that every community meeting I've gone to over the course of the past week, people have mentioned it to me."

Mr. Ellison said he has heard directly from physicians and nurses, rural community members, and workers concerned about job security in light of the merger, in addition to "people from all over who have raised concerns about Minnesota charitable assets going out of state," according to the Star Tribune.

The health systems said "public input is an important part of the review process by the attorney general's office," according to a joint statement obtained by the Star Tribune.

When Sanford and Fairview proposed a merger in 2013, former Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson initiated the public hearing process almost immediately. She publicly disclosed the systems' intent to merge and organized a public hearing within a few days. The proposed deal was abandoned shortly after.

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