FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Legislation from Rep. Bierman would provide critical public oversight of proposed consolidations like the Sanford-Fairview merger
(St. Paul) – February 1, 2023 – Nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) today urged passage of legislation to provide critical public oversight of proposed hospital mergers during the bill’s first hearing in the Minnesota House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee. The proposed legislation, introduced by Rep. Robert Bierman as an amendment to HF402, would give the Minnesota Department of Health the authority to review – and approve or deny – hospital mergers in the state on the basis of their impacts on Minnesota patients and communities.
“We are thankful to Representative Bierman for introducing legislation to put much needed guiderails on mergers and acquisitions of taxpayer-supported health care systems such as the merger between Sanford and Fairview Health,” said MNA in written testimony submitted to the committee. “Nurses have one primary concern: to ensure quality care for patients, which starts at the bedside and extends into our communities.”
Nurses strongly oppose the proposed merger between Sanford Health and M Health Fairview, as these corporate hospital mergers and monopolies increase costs for patients, reduce the quality of care, and result in reductions of services and closures of community hospitals and clinics. These mergers also have serious consequences for workers, increasing job dissatisfaction and departures, reduced pay, and threats to collective bargaining agreements.
The new legislation would provide a serious public review process for proposed mergers, beginning with notice at least 180 days in advance. The legislation allows for a public input process, so that patients, workers and communities could have their voices heard on the potential impact of a corporate healthcare consolidation in our state. Following this investigation, the Commissioner of Health would determine whether a merger or consolidation “will benefit the public good or improve health outcomes,” and if those benefits outweigh “any anticompetitive effects of the proposed transaction.”
On Monday, the Minnesota House Commerce and Health Finance and Policy Committees held a joint informational hearing on the proposed merger between Sanford Health and M Health Fairview. Minnesota nurses and other healthcare workers, patients, and University of Minnesota medical students spoke out beforehand against this proposed consolidation and in support of legislation to bring critical public oversight to the process.