Merger will strengthen health care for Minnesotans – Star Tribune

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As the leaders of two major health care organizations in the Midwest — Fairview Health Services and Sanford Wellness — we know our role in shaping the future of healthcare for the millions of people we serve is a profound responsibility plus privilege.

The past few years have tested our nation’s health care systems as never before. We must seek new, better ways to care for our patients while delivering on the promise of more affordable, accessible and equitable treatment. These solutions must meet the needs of our patients today, while creating a sustainable pathway to serve our communities for decades to come.

Last month, Fairview and Sanford announced our own intent to combine our complementary strengths plus expertise in order to do more for the particular patients all of us take care of across greater Minnesota and beyond. By coming together, we all will be able to significantly expand access to all levels of care for a lot more people; harness innovative technologies to make care more personal and convenient no matter where the patients live; and improve the health of our communities.

Sanford and Fairview both have a long history of service to the people associated with Minnesota. Fairview brings nationally recognized community and specialty care to patients across the metro and the Iron Range. Elsewhere within the state, more than 7, 200 Sanford employees care for patients in 20 hospitals and 70 clinics throughout greater Mn, including Bemidji, Thief River Falls, Worthington and Luverne.

There are many ways our combined systems can do more for a lot more people in Minnesota. Final year, Sanford Health announced a landmark $350 million expansion of virtual treatment to advance care delivery and accelerate research, education and innovation. Fairview’s expertise combined with Sanford’s virtual care infrastructure would provide patients with seamless access in order to cutting-edge medicine as well as essential primary and preventive treatment.

Together, we’ll also be able to draw upon greater resources to expand outpatient care plus improve clinical outcomes by investing in new care models. Imagine continued growth of the EmPATH model, which combines expert mental medical care and a calming environment, rather than a hectic emergency room, so people in crisis can get help quickly. At M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital, the state’s first EmPATH unit reduced inpatient admission for people with psychological health symptoms by 60% in 2021.

With the industry facing historic workforce challenges, we all know the particular future health of our own communities rests on our ability to attract and develop highly trained clinicians plus employees. With our expanded resources, mixed research capabilities and robust peer networks, the new system will be a destination for top medical talent, drawing the best and brightest to our region.

We will also continue to build on the legacy associated with community reinvestment. We are proud in order to have invested a combined $1. 5 billion in our communities within 2021. Together, as one of Minnesota’s largest employers, we are usually deeply committed to ensuring they remain vibrant places for our employees to live, work and grow.

We’ve been asked how the merger would impact patients — would care and attention be harder to entry or will resources somehow flow out of state? The best answer will be Sanford’s own track record following other mergers.

Following a 2011 combination with North Country Health Services in Bemidji, Sanford spent a lot more than $100 million in order to increase access to specialty treatment, including expansions of mental health, cardiology, orthopedics and oncology. After merging along with MeritCare in 2009, the system made more than $1. 1 billion in capital investments in the region, bringing a Level One Trauma Center to Fargo-Moorhead and a state-of-the-art local community hospital in order to Thief Water Falls.

All of us also share a steadfast belief in the power of academic medication to create healthier areas through research and development. Fairview’s long held partnership with the University of Minnesota is responsible for bringing life-changing medical breakthroughs to countless patients within the neighborhoods we function. Our sincere hope is that the university will certainly always partner with the particular combined program. Together, we can expand the reach of the university’s study and academic mission in order to more individuals across our own state, and become a regional magnet with regard to health care excellence in the Midwest and past.

In the particular end, however , the university is an independent entity and must decide for itself what treatment delivery partnerships it needs to support its research plus teaching missions.

These are just a few of the many important conversations we’ve had with our teams across Fairview and Sanford since announcing the intent in order to combine. There is much about our organizations plus our people that unites us, including our own strong work ethic, common purpose and Midwest sensibilities. Our shared mission to provide the best possible care to individuals doesn’t stop at the city line or a state border.

The fundamental changes in wellness care require us to think differently about what we do today to meet the needs in our residential areas tomorrow. Our own future together is exciting, yet we recognize change is not easy. We are going to continue to engage with our stakeholders, listen and answer questions, and offer our vision for a shared future — one that invests in the requirements of all Minnesotans.

Bill Gassen is usually president plus CEO associated with Sanford Health. James Hereford is president and CEO of Fairview Health Services.

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