Skip to Content

Support MinnPost

Dead: Sanford takeover of Fairview

Talk about a shooting star ... The Strib story by Jackie Crosby and Tony Kennedy tells us: “The high-stakes maneuvering over ownership of Fairview Health Services ended abruptly Wednesday, with Sanford Health and the University of Minnesota halting discussions about a merger or acquisition. The CEO of South Dakota-based Sanford, whose merger effort came under intense scrutiny the past two weeks, said Wednesday afternoon that he was ending discussions because Sanford has a policy of ‘only going where we are invited.’ Shortly thereafter, university President Eric Kaler said Fairview’s board won’t consider a proposal he made in January for the U to take over the hospital system.”  

The death knell has sounded ... Mila Koumpilova of the PiPress says: “A group of College of Visual Arts alumni and other supporters are quitting their effort to stave off the St. Paul school's planned closure this summer. The group, called CVA Action, announced Wednesday, April 10, that it was suspending a bid to keep the college open. Its president, Ben Levitz, said the college's board of trustees gave the group two weeks to reach CVA Action's own fundraising goal of $3 million. Levitz called that too tough a hurdle without board assurance it would reconsider shuttering the school.”

Let’s see .. Libertarian? Check. Independence? Check. Green? Check. DFL? Check ... Baird Helgeson of the Strib says: “Some Minnesota political party leaders are turning up pressure on legislators to legalize same-sex marriage in the state this year. ‘This is about what kind of state we want for the future,’ Ken Martin, chair of Minnesota’s DFL Party, said Wednesday. ‘What kind of statement do we want to make when a whole swath of society is treated like second-class citizens? ... Along with Martin, the event drew leaders of the Independence, Libertarian and Green parties, all of whom expressed strong support for same-sex marriage and rejected a compromise proposal to allow civil unions for same-sex couples. The new leader of Minnesota’s Republican Party, former legislator Keith Downey, did not attend.” Probably had spam-blocker on his email.

The chair of the panel overseeing Vikings stadium construction is cool with a 10 percent tax on sports merchandise ... but not on seat licenses. Patrick Condon of the AP says: “ ‘I think it makes a lot of sense. It would provide a good cushion,’ [Michelle] Kelm-Helgen said of the sports memorabilia tax, a proposed 10-percent sales tax on clothes, sports cards, equipment and other items that bear a pro sports logo. It would apply not just to Vikings gear but to the goods of all professional teams, based in Minnesota or elsewhere, and to purchases made anywhere — not just at pro sports venues. Kelm-Helgen discouraged the luxury seat proposal, saying it would infringe on a deal state negotiators struck with the Vikings last year ... Several other proposals from House Republicans surfaced Thursday to address the Vikings financing concerns. One proposal would cut the state's $348 million share of the project by $200 million. Another would make the Vikings chip in more money or turn over naming rights to the state.”

The anti-tax ad campaign is up and running. The AP says: “A coalition of Minnesota business groups on Wednesday launched statewide campaign-style advertising that’s critical of tax increase proposals from Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative Democrats. The group calling itself United For Jobs aired its first television and radio ads. The TV ad focuses criticism on the proposed income tax increase for the highest 2 percent of earners in Minnesota ... House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said the new group’s approach isn’t a constructive strategy for shifting the Legislature’s discussion. Thissen said earlier invitations to business leaders to highlight areas where spending can be cut have been met with silence.” That is just so unusual.

The GleanOK ... how about one Sunday a year? Another AP story says: “A Minnesota lawmaker wants to change state law to allow liquor stores to open for next year’s Super Bowl — even as other legislators renew a perennial push to legalize broader Sunday sales. Rep. Pat Garofalo, a Farmington Republican, says liquor stores could generate huge revenues on Super Bowl Sunday. The House Commerce Committee on Wednesday discussed his bill, which would allow a one-year pilot in 2014. Garofalo says the Legislature could extend the change permanently if it’s a success.”

Mayo’s CEO didn’t exactly make new friends with legislators when he went national with the not-so-veiled threat to take his expansion to “49 [other] states.” At MPR, Tom Scheck says: “Members of the state House Tax Committee had some sharp words Wednesday for Mayo Clinic. The criticism came in a committee hearing a day after Mayo's CEO suggested that Mayo Clinic would expand elsewhere if Rochester does not receive a half-billion dollar subsidy from the state.  ... DFL Rep. John Lesch of St. Paul said he was ‘thoroughly disgusted’ by the comments. ‘I know it's hard to come in here and you can't say this about your CEO. But I'll say it, it was a dumb thing to say. It was dumb, dumb, dumb,’ Lesch said. ‘This is not our first rodeo. We've had to weigh these kinds of considerations in the past and we look at it critically. These are taxpayer dollars.' " The NFL, of course, is a completely different proposition ...                                       

In addition to everything else, it’s raining iced turkey vultures. Beth Wischmeyer of the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader says: “On top of the rain, sleet and snow that fell from the sky yesterday, birds are also dropping, as one Sioux Falls resident found out. A large turkey vulture dropped out of the sky on the deck of the home of Adam Weber, taking shelter under the table. ‘My wife was making breakfast, and she suddenly yelled, 'Adam! A large bird just fell out of the sky!' said Weber ... ‘That was the last thing I expected to see when I looked out on the deck yesterday.’ Weber, who is a pastor at Embrace Church, said the bird was completely iced over and sat straight upright under the table on the deck.” Wait for the drifts of frozen locusts.

PolyMet is getting its financing in order. In the PiPress, Leslie Brooks Suzukamo says: “PolyMet Mining Corp. has filed with Canadian and U.S. securities authorities to sell stock to raise $60 million for its proposed, but delayed, copper-nickel mining operations at Hoyt Lake, Minn., the company said Wednesday, April 10. The company's largest shareholder, Glencore AG, a dealer in metals and other commodities, also has agreed to provide PolyMet with a $20 million bridge loan to fund its operations until the stock offering comes through, PolyMet said Wednesday. PolyMet CEO Jon Cherry called the developments a milestone that will ensure the operations are well-funded as the company seeks the necessary environmental approval from federal and state authorities.”

Get MinnPost's top stories in your inbox

Related Tags:

About the Author:

Comments (27)

Crazy weather

That turkey vulture story out of Sioux Falls is unreal.


Looks like the U and Swanson overplayed their hand. Bottom line is status quo for U which is not sustainable.

IF the U of M Hospitals Are Currently "Unsustainable"

The privatization pipedream of handing over a publicly-created and funded asset to a private entity,...

thereby diverting the benefits derived from resources originally contributed by the public at large,...

into the pockets of highly-paid board members and executives of a private corporation,...

is nothing short of the bastardization and complete corruption of the original purposes behind the creation of the University of Minnesota Hospital in the first place,...

and therefore is ABSOLUTELY NOT the ethically or morally appropriate remedy.

Attorney General Swanson was not playing a "hand." She was NOT trying to wring a better "deal" out of Sanford. She was, quite appropriately, nixing a deal that could NEVER be appropriate or useful to the citizens of the State of Minnesota, no matter what the terms.

And just as a side note, I've heard the term "merger of equals" before, when Delta and Northwest Airlines created such a merger, and just as so many of us expected, it turned out be and out-and-out takeover: Northwest disappeared, Minnesota-based jobs disappeared or were diminished and damaged, and Delta profited.

I am not sure that the Attorney General overplayed her hand.

Problems on the Sanford side were quite egregious. They had not done the paper work necessary for their non-profit status in Minnesota of Sanford hospitals already located here. Peculiar indeed. Sanford's response to a request for information from the Attorney General was arrogant and short sighted.

"Swanson also pointed out in a letter Tuesday that Sanford Health's 'registration with this Office under the laws pertaining to charitable institutions has lapsed.'"


And the lack of a permanent CEO on the Fairview side is also peculiar. Sanford's Krabbenhoft indicated elsewhere that he was ready to "take over."

"Accretive follow-up. Attorney General Swanson noted that almost a year ago following the completion of her Office’s compliance report involving Fairview’s relationship with Accretive Health, Inc. Fairview announced that it would commence a search for a new CEO, which it said would be completed with a year. Attorney General Swanson said that her office was recently advised by Fairview that no chief executive recruitment has yet been undertaken."


I suggest that Sanford withdrew from talks because the organization did not want to face another round of tough questions from the Attorney General. "Trust us" was not selling.

President Kaler is apparently in agreement with Dr. Gauthier about sustainability:

"Unfortunately, I was informed this afternoon by interim Fairview CEO Chuck Mooty that Fairview's board will not entertain the University of Minnesota's proposal at this time. This news is disappointing, given my strong belief that the status quo is not sustainable." link:

What to do?

1. Fairview needs to hire a real CEO ASAP.

(I realize that this will be tough, given the hole they have dug. Perhaps some public spirited individual will step forward? A retired hospital executive? I can think of a few...)

2, If the U actually has a rational plan under development, please make it available for discussion to all concerned. Faculty at the University of Minnesota are getting tired of surprises.

3. I would prefer to see the U and Riverside/Amplatz operate independently under control of the U. This may require additional funding. Given the U's unique medical education mission I doubt that the U can run the whole Fairview operation efficiently.

4. And while we take a breather on this, why not look into a solution that somehow involves the Mayo Clinic. In the long run this also seems to be inevitable and desirable.

Let's see some of that vaunted leadership from President Kahler, local healthcare experts, and our state legislature. The fiasco of the last fifteen years since the U sold its hospital cannot continue.

William B. Gleason
Associate Professor
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
College of Medicine
University of Minnesota

PhD, Chemistry, 1973, University of Minnesota


The answer is for the Medical School, UMP and faculty to make their case directly to the public. Quit waiting for someone to give a solution and force one. Clearly there is community support and concern. The time is now to move, not to proselytize on a message board.


I've given some pretty concrete suggestions, Dr. Gauthier.

If you don't know where you are going, you will never get there.

My best.

Bill Gleason

The Sanford blues....

Blah blah blah. Look: if the deal couldn't withstand public scrutiny it was a bad deal. And it's just typical Fairivew management schlock to be in the middle of a huge negotiation with an "interim" CEO. They don't even have a CEO and they're gonna sell themselves to another hospital? OK maybe the previous CEO started the negotiations, that's the guy that blew into town Accretive.


The issue has never been about Fairview, it is the Medical School and what Fairview did to it. Fairview is a community hospital chain, nothing more or less. Does Mayo let someone else manage their hospital? No. Why? Money. No money, no mission. Same deal at U.
Mayo is a great place to be treated, but the U has been the place where great ideas become companies. That is not part of Mayo's DNA, never has been. And everyone wants to give Mayo 500M to create 45K jobs, but wash their hands of the U? Dumb.



The issue has NEVER been about Fairview? Who was Sanford negotiating with? Does Fairivew own the U Medical School? Fairview is absolutely the issue, they merged with the U and took over the administration of the merged entity. You're making a distinction without a difference. And what does Mayo have to do with this anyways?

You can't have it both ways. You can't complain about Fairview management and yet pretend that that same management with an interim CEO can be trusted to make a good (secret) deal with Sanford that's gonna somehow save the U. and serve the public's interest. Sanford isn't interested in saving the U. or Fairview, they're a for profit entity looking to make money on the deal.

This is typical private sector thinking. Don't solve the problem, make it someone else's problem. The U. solved it's problem by selling itself to Fairview, and now Fairview wants to solve it's problems by selling itself to someone else. Meanwhile executives interim and otherwise are raking in massive paychecks to NOT solve problems or otherwise do their jobs. In the end all this ends up being is a very expensive way to move deck chairs around, and solves no problems. Sanford was no more a solution than Fairview was.

The Strib is AWOL on the statdium?

Notice the Strib is getting it's local stadium coverage from the AP? What's up with that?

Rep. Lesch: Pot calls Kettle Black

Rep. Lesch, who voted FOR the Vikings stadium, who swooned when the NFL swooped into town with their phoney-baloney threats to move the franchise if their local owner didn't get what he wanted, who experienced no disgust on that occasion, NOW asks us to believe that SOMEONE ELSE is "dumb, dumb, dumb".

He's right that this is "not our first rodeo", as the Vikings rode legislators like this aplenty.

"...we look at it critically. These are taxpayer dollars." Really, Rep. Lesch ?

Regarding Taxes

Can we get a countervailing add campaign up spelling out the results of the most recent tax incident study which spells out what these poor, beleaguered, "job creators" pay in total taxes, as a portion of their income (several percentage points lower),...

as opposed to the rest of us,...

and making it clear how rapidly their incomes have skyrocketed over the past few decades while the rest of us have stayed the same or gone backward?

We might even mention how many millions, if not billions of dollars of income these folks and some of their companies have stashed offshore to avoid taxes they SHOULD owe on that income.

We could also include a general description of how they invest their massive incomes,...

not in stabilizing and upgrading their own businesses (unless, of course, doing so will allow them to get rid of workers),

not in innovative new, "job creating" business ventures (the LAST thing they want is competition),

but in financial games invented by Wall Street wherein they hope to make "a killing" bidding up, then cashing out of questionable investment vehicles,...

right before the next Wall Street-created crash comes down,...

and, of course, if they get caught on the wrong side of the crash, demanding that the rest of us, through the federal government, bail them out,...

after they have steadfastly resisted allowing federal taxes on people such as themselves to be raised in order to help our nation recover from the effects of the crash of 2008, which resulted from the same profligate behavior of people such as themselves?

Our wealthy friends like to portray themselves as the ants in the old fable about unwise economic behavior, but with a bit closer examination, it's easy to see that the rest of us,...

working class and middle class folks, are really the ants,...

while many, if not MOST of our wealthy friends are the grasshoppers,...

who cavort and celebrate, based on the gains they expect from the crazy financial games they play with their resources during our economy's "summer," while the rest of us just keeping working away, and paying our bills, trying to be responsible,...

then when their own behavior causes economic "winter" to arrive, those same, wealthy, grasshoppers who engineered the crash expect the ants to save them (again).

In the end we can make it clear that we need to force the "grasshoppers" to be responsible enough to clean up the mess THEY made and to prepare for future messes that they will, almost certainly make, by raising THEIR taxes rather than cutting the services which help the rest of us survive what the "grasshopper's" irresponsible financial behavior has already done and continues to do to our society and to our jobs.

These same people did NOT object to a 2011 wealth tax.....

on somebody else. Now what is THAT not a surprise....

'The anti-tax ad campaign is up and running. The AP says: “A coalition of Minnesota business groups on Wednesday launched statewide campaign-style advertising that’s critical of tax increase proposals from Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative Democrats.'

Republicans created, wrote, and passed a wealth tax in 2011--and it was collected in 2012-2013 (and is ongoing as you read this). It raised over $10-million/year in revenues. So why are the anti-tax groups arguing about anything when their own party has already done them over? Just expand the wealth tax to more people--problem solved.

And don't say you (or anyone else) don't know about it. Republicans shut down the state for 3 weeks to get that wealth tax implemented as part of their plan to it implemented--remember?

The easiest Fairview solution

would be to simply go to single-payer nationwide.

That, of course, will never be on the table because far too many people support the hyper-rational single-payer solution.

Google "Brill Time Magazine health care" and read what the current nonprofit-plus-exorbitant-administrative-salaries solution is doing to our country. The current system is broken, and Fairview's suitors are the people who broke it.

Dumb, yes...

CEO with or without the Mayo comment reminds me from the sixties - Jimi Hendrix friend Ellen Mcillwaine and her song..."I Don't Want To Play, I'll take my house and go away"

..except the lyrics would be wasted on this CEO I suppose...what was he on to make such a "dumb" statement? Was he off his meds with such puny professionalism exposed?

same sex marriage

Can't we even agree on terms? A civil union is that legal contract the establishes next of kin, inheritability, tax benefits, and hundreds of other LEGAL rights between two people. EVERYONE who gets married enters into a civil union. Marriage, on the other hand, is that ceremony that takes place in a place of worship and involves vows to a higher power. For all these parties to reject civil unions is just plain stubborn and misinformed.

Now who's

redefining marriage? Civil marriage is completely independent of any place of worship or reference to a higher power. Mine was performed by a judge, in a former courtroom, and involved only the vows my wife and I made to one another.

EVERYONE who gets married enters into a civil union....and

they get a "Marriage License" from the state. That's why we want to get married and not have a "civil union." Once we get our "marriage license," we can go to the "place of worship" (or not) and have a ceremony declaring our commitment and love in front of our friends and family. I, btw, will have my marriage at the St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral. I'm just wonder who's being stubborn and misinformed?

Civil Union

Sorry, Alan, but my wife and I got married 20 years ago, not "civil unioned." And there was no church, no pastor, and no higher power--just a judge in our living room.

Really I don't understand why you're so worked up about people getting married. Civilization has not ceased to exist in other states and countries that allow gays to get married. The sun will continue to rise and set as usual and your marriage will not be affected one wit.

Civil unions

Ironically, gay rights advocates initially proposed legalizing civil unions for gays, and the conservatives cried "Armageddon!" After all the awful insults and shameful bigotry hurled at gays, advocates pushed back with legislation and legal challenges across the country to get marriage equality.

Here in Minnesota, the conservatives--not content with Minnesota's DOMA law--were in a lather to pass a constitutional amendment, and got trounced. Now they are angry that gays and advocates are pushing back with marriage equality. And what is their response? Yep, civil unions.

The irony is just too rich. The civil union ship has sailed.

(Not to mention the practical hurdle that hundred of laws in Minnesota that would have to be changed to say "marriages and civil unions," as well as corporate HR policies, hospital policies, etc.)

"Marriage, on the other hand,

"Marriage, on the other hand, is that ceremony that takes place in a place of worship and involves vows to a higher power"

Really? Intersting. I was married in a flower garden by a judge. No mention of a higher power at any point in time.

End the confusion

The state provides only marriage licenses to all or civil union licenses to all. The churches should have nothing to do with laws related to civil issues related to "marriages and/or civil unions".

Liquor stores have to be open

on Super Bowl Sunday because we're all too stupid to buy our booze in advance. Right?

And no amount of additional booze

will help if the Vikings are in it and losing again.


Well, you could say they're too stupid if you were a cynical unsympathetic individual. If you were Republican though you could just shout "freedom!" and "choice!" Otherwise you could simply realize that some people are too busy to get all the details done on Saturday, some of us work, and some just get those weekend tasks done on Sunday instead of Saturday.

Do you have a good reason why booze stores should be closed on Sunday? Obviously you feel strongly about the issue if you came here to post a missive about it, so I'm curious as to why you think only certain stores should be forced to close on certain days.

I guess the secret to getting millions....

Is not saying stupid things. Now matter how stupid the public subsidy is, as long the people asking for it don't say anything too stupid, legislators will vote for it.

This is a serious issue and I don't hate to say I told you so. One of the biggest arguments against the Vikings subsidy was that it was so huge, and on top of so many other huge sports subsidies, that it would detract from honest to god infrastructure spending. Proponents always argue about the source of the funding and how it's not coming from schools and roads but in the end the effect is undeniable. The signature accomplishment of the last legislative session was a billion dollar subsidy for a New Jersey billionaire, and now that's slowly unraveling as the funding collapses. Now fresh off of that fiasco Rochester is asking for a huge subsidy and they're caught up in the backwash from the stadium subsidy. No one said life is fair, this what actually happens. Meanwhile the Democrats want to cut $160 million from the health and human services budget!

You can try to parse these things out if you want but the big picture is a government twisting in the wind because it can't figure out who it's constituents are or focus on priorities. So a football franchise that promises no new jobs whatsoever with 120 or fewer employees gets a billion public dollars while Mayo and Rochester beg to create 30,000 jobs for half the amount. Tell me if weren't on the hook for the Vikings stadium right now the Mayo deal wouldn't look any different.

Head of Illinois GOP Came Out in Favor of Marriage Equality

And the usual suspects from the Illinois Family Council and @PeterLabarbera from Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (a local Illinois org) had a cow - but the party didn't end up removing him from his chair position. Now several republican legislators in Illinois are supporting marriage equality - and I think it's some democrats who are the sticklers - even with a democratic supermajority.

Interesting times.

Still - Keith Downey would never support marriage equality - he was a big Minnesota Family Council supported guy against Ron Erhardt.