MN Nurses Union to fight proposed Sanford/Fairview merger

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KFGO) – Now that nurses have new contracts with major hospitals in the Twin Cities and Duluth-Superior, union leaders say they’ll turn their focus to blocking the proposed merger of South Dakota-based Sanford Health with Minnesota-headquartered Fairview Health Services.

Minnesota Nurses Association Executive Director Rose Roach says the union will lobby against the merger at the State Capitol next month.

“Nurses will continue to fight with every fiber of our being against having a South Dakota company come in here and take over as the largest health care provider in the state of Minnesota,” Roach says.

In late November Governor Tim Walz expressed openness to the proposed merger, saying the relationship between Sanford’s new CEO and his office is “100-percent different than it used to be,” and that communication between his administration and Sanford has been transparent and candid.

But Attorney General Keith Ellison appears to have reservations about the merger and is planning a series of hearings around Minnesota saying, “We either need some very powerful assurances or… it’s gonna be a big concern. The issue of health care access and quality of care is something that I’m very concerned about.”

Roach says the MNA has a number of concerns related to the merger.

“It will not improve patient care, it will not improve quality and we will see prices skyrocket — and in addition, too, we will likely see closures. We’re not gonna stand for that,” Roach says.

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