Minnesota's attorney general has formally asked Sanford Health and Fairview Health Services to delay the closing of their merger as the office weighs whether to contest the deal.
“It’s more important to do this right than to do it fast,” John Keller, Minnesota’s chief deputy attorney general, said during a public hearing on the merger last week.
Keller told members of the public that the attorney general’s office had formally asked Sanford and Fairview to delay its March 31st deal closing. The attorney general’s office had yet to hear from the two health systems as of the Jan. 25 public hearing.
The existing deal timeline has raised concerns within the attorney general’s office, Keller said.
South Dakota-based Sanford Health is seeking to combine with Minnesota’s Fairview Health Services to create a $14 billion system.
The combination would give Sanford access to the metropolitan Minneapolis market with Fairview’s 11 hospitals.
The attorney general’s office is currently holding public hearings to gather more information on the impact the merger will have on Minnesotans.
Right now, the attorney general’s office is trying to collect as much information as possible to make an informed decision, Keller said. So far, the office has received 3,500 comments on the deal in addition to conducting its own internal investigation. The office is waiting on “substantial information” from the two systems to analyze the tie-up.
As of Jan. 25, the attorney general’s office had not decided if there will be cause for legal action to contest the deal, Keller said.
The University of Minnesota has indicated the deal is moving too fast and that its interests have not been adequately considered, Keller added during the Jan. 25 meeting.
Fairview owns the University of Minnesota Medical Center and has a partnership with the university. The partnership is set to end in 2026 with the option for a 10-year renewal in 2023, according to the attorney general’s office.