The Fairview brand name would be dropped from Twin Cities medical facilities under merger talks authorized by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.
Regents approved a nonbinding letter of intent to explore a merger Friday. The proposal would combine the Fairview clinic and hospital system with the physician group of the university's hospital and medical school.
Leaders of the two organizations say a merger would mean a stronger, more efficient healthcare system for Twin Cities patients, the Star Tribune reported. Fairview and University of Minnesota Physicians already collaborate in running the university's hospitals and clinics. But according to a summary presented to the regents, their current bifurcated leadership has resulted in "thousands of contracts, wasted effort and resources, and considerable room for disagreement and tension."
Combining the two systems would make the providers more efficient in patient care, which will be rewarded under federal healthcare reform, and increase revenue that can be diverted to the university's Academic Health Center for teaching and medical research, said Dave Murphy, Fairview's interim chief executive.
"We believe there will be more money to invest in our health care system," Murphy said, "because we will be delivering better care. And when you deliver better care, patients come to you."
The merger would give each side something it needs. University of Minnesota Physicians' specialists and clinical researchers would benefit from the broader patient base of Fairview, which operates 42 clinics and seven hospitals and is aligned with the Ebenezer long-term care organization. Fairview would have more direct access to the university's specialists in rare and deadly diseases, and to its cutting-edge medical technology.
Patients would benefit from a unified healthcare system capable of treating everything from "a scraped knee to a lung transplant," Murphy said, and fostering collaboration by primary-care doctors and specialists.
"There is a chance for us to be something that no one else in this state or region can be," he said.
The new organization would be known as M Health, taken from the 2-year-old partnership between Fairview and University of Minnesota Physicians to operate university medical facilities. A new chief executive would be hired and a consolidated board would be appointed, with equal input from Fairview and University of Minnesota Physicians.
The Fairview brand at other locations, such as Southdale Hospital in Edina and Ridges Hospital in Burnsville, would be replaced.
Dr. Bobbi Daniels, chief executive of University of Minnesota Physicians, said the goals of a "world class" medical school won't be achieved without an equally renowned healthcare system. She said the University of Minnesota brand will help draw more patients to achieve that goal.
"The power of the name is really important for the strength of the academic mission and the breadth of referrals," Daniels said.