Swanson grills Sanford executives on proposed Fairview merger

  • Article by: Tony Kennedy , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 8, 2013 - 11:20 AM

SanfordHealth officials pointed to potential savings of as much as $60 million, while AG Lori Swanson focused on who would benefit.

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PXLatedApr. 7, 1310:57 PM

Please, please, please don't turn the Twin Cities into another Sioux Falls - You can't get away from the Sanford advertising machine. Everywhere you look it's Sanford. You get the feeling that T. Denny would put a Sanford sign in every yard if allowed. The biggest narcissistic/ego thing I've ever seen. The funny thing is if you see the T. Denny bronze in front of the hospital, the head seems too big for the body - Betting the sculptor did that on purpose.

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bikiesterApr. 7, 1311:10 PM

The only decision that President Kaler could make about charitable contributions from Sanford that would be ethical would be to not accept any, EVER! Just because they are put on hold until after merger talks does not mean there isn't a sweetheart deal in the works. This University has a long-standing problem with ethics. I mean, it's really a joke when it comes to ethics. This is Minnesota's University. We don't need the tainted money from Sanford. We've already got Bill McGuire's dirty money plastered all over a building.

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maddyinmplsApr. 7, 1311:41 PM

What a strange story. Is U of M General Counsel Mark Rotenberg looking out for Kaler, the U, or the Board of Regents? That's the problem with the way his job is structured. For now, it looks like he's protecting Kaler...which is another way of saying Rotenberg is protecting Rotenberg. That's ridiculous, given the stakes in this deal. Who is looking out for the University of Minnesota? Certainly not people who are protecting their own jobs. What a sorry morass.

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canardbusterApr. 8, 1312:47 AM

There are so many outrages and conflicts of interest here that it's hard to know where to start. The notion that somehow these conflicts are being avoided -- because at this very moment Sanford isn't funneling money to the athletic program -- is beyond absurd. Equally absurd is the idea that a merger is going to save the taxpayers money. Eliminating competition to save the consumer money? Please, Sanford and Kaler, we might not be professors at the U, but don't insult our intelligence. Haven't we had endured enough dirty deals, nepotism and sweetheart contracts at the U? Isn't it time that the tail of the failed athletic department stops wagging the dog of education? Nothing positive can come of this -- nothing positive, that is, for the people of Minnesota and the patients of Fairview. I hope Swanson uses every tool at her disposal to abort this plan. And I hope Kaler understands that he has quickly outworn his welcome because of his lack of transparency and obsession with the disgraced athletic program.

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wallyworldmnApr. 8, 1312:59 AM

I appreciate AG Swanson on this issue. Sanford has nothing to offer Minnesota. They wouldn't be drooling over the Fairview-University Hospitals if they didn't think that they could drain a pile of money from it. There are very few insurers or big medical systems that I would trust. I appreciate that businesses need to make money but I miss the days when people made money the old fashioned way by "earning it". Today, the mantra of business has little to do with providing a valuable service and more with "maximizing stockholder return". Sanford epitomizes the latter.

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texas_technomanApr. 8, 13 4:18 AM

I think the AG's question to Sanford should be: Please share with us the detail behind the $60m in "synergies", and explain why this would be good for Fairview, the U of M, and the taxpayers in this state. Having lived through three large corporate mergers, those "synergies" are more than likely staff that will be released.....this is not a "job creation" effort, quite the opposite.

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furguson11Apr. 8, 13 6:16 AM

"Swanson asked him: “Can you see how the focus here [in Minnesota] should be on patients, not sports and athletics?” Really? Has the Attorney General been paying attention to what the UofM is spending it's money on, administration and athletics? Nothing to much against Lori Swanson, but we need to take all of this public posturing with a grain of salt. She's running for office and Sanford has already demonstrated that they know how to run a medical organization. Unlike the U and Fairview, who's solution to problems are more public money and hounding patients for payments in the emergency room.

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stevensp0Apr. 8, 13 6:27 AM

It is wonderful to read an article that clearly articulates the importance and value of government oversight. Lori Swanson for governor!

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madmax78Apr. 8, 13 6:34 AM

I don't understand why Sanford Health's relationship with Denny Sanford is germane. Is he some type of criminal? What does the state of Minnesota care? Would it be different if it were a different out of state business man? Is this whole issue some type of battle of egos? As for me, I know almost nothing about the man. But if he's built a business that has provided tens of thousands of jobs, purchased real estate in hundreds of communities, provided health care to millions of people (many in underserved rural communities), paid state/federal/local taxes all along the way, I have no issue with the fact that he became a multi-millionaire as a result. Also, the state doesn't own the U of M hospital. It belongs to a privately run Fairview Health. They can sell it to whoever they want...they can keep it...heck, they could CLOSE it if they wanted. Obviously they would never do that, just trying to illustrate a point. This hearing is all show. Nothing Swanson can do to stop this transaction, just slow it down.

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murphydogApr. 8, 13 7:01 AM

If something smells, it's usually rotten. This deal smells to high heaven.

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