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Sanford, Fairview delay merger again

Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health and Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services are again delaying their proposed merger, which would create a health system with more than 50 hospitals and 78,000 employees if approved, the Star Tribune reported April 3.

The health systems said they would provide a 90-day notice of the closing, a request from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison's office, according to the report. 

This is the second time the closing date has been extended — the health systems initially set a March 31 closing date, before extending it to May 31. The latest extension means the proposed transaction will not be completed until late summer at the earliest.

"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," the health systems said in a news release. "We remain confident in the benefits of the merger for our people, patients and communities and our shared vision to advance world-class healthcare for all we serve."

The attorney general's office said it learned last week that Fairview decided to postpone its plans to merge with Sanford. 

"Although we are still learning the details of Fairview's plans … it is imperative for Fairview leadership to focus their attention on the critical issues facing the health system, including its declining financial condition and its relationship with the University of Minnesota," the attorney general's office said in a statement. "We will continue to investigate issues like the circumstances surrounding Fairview's declining financial health and its plans for a path forward."

Mr. Ellison's office said it is using information the public submits to evaluate the merger under existing laws and to determine opportunities for changes or improvement to public policy, regulation, or state or federal law.  

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