Fairview plans end to current partnership with University of Minnesota

Two person testify during a hearing
James Hereford of Fairview Health Services testify during a hearing regarding the proposed merger between Sanford Health Fairview Health Services at Minnesota Senate Building in St. Paul on March 7.
Stephen Maturen for MPR News

Fairview Health Services notified the University of Minnesota on Monday that it does not plan to extend its current partnership.  

The two organizations have partnered as M Health Fairview since 2018. It’s a large string of hospitals and clinics in the state — and a major source of funding for the university’s medical school.  

The partnership will run through the end of 2026. It was set to automatically renew for another decade; both parties had until Dec. 31 of this year to notify the other if they did not want that renewal to go forward.  

According to a statement from the University of Minnesota, the notification did not come as a surprise.  

“We have previously said, as has Fairview, that our current agreement would have to change for the future. Fairview's announcement today simply reaffirms those statements,” the university said. 

The partnership has been facing uncertainty for several months, since Fairview’s proposed merger with Sanford Health drew criticism from some university officials, as well as the state’s nurses’ union. The merger ultimately failed. 

In a statement, Fairview CEO James Hereford said that this does not mean an end to all collaborations between the two parties. 

“I see tremendous value for our patients and our community in a continued partnership with the University,” Hereford said. “Going forward, we will continue to negotiate in good faith to reach a new agreement, one that delivers on the unique promise of academic and community medicine.” 

Hereford said that he will present on Fairview’s current challenges to the Governor's Task Force on Academic Health on Tuesday.  

Care at clinics and hospitals operated by M Health Fairview won’t be impacted until Dec. 31, 2026, according to the two organizations.  

The university said it’s continuing to discuss next steps with state leadership, including meeting with the Governor’s Task Force of Academic Health and planning the future of its medical school.  

“While today’s announcement adds considerations to those discussions, it does not change our core mission on behalf of Minnesota — to prepare our next generation of health professionals while leading research and innovations in both treatments and care models, and ensuring Minnesotans have access to the highest quality care available,” the university said.  

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