Twin Cities hospitals scrap pediatrics merger

It looks like "coopetition" just lost another round. After months of wrangling for position that went nowhere, three Twin Cities hospital systems have dropped plans to merge their separate pediatrics programs into a single, high-profile pediatrics hospital. On the surface, the deal made sense. Each of the individual players--The University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, Allina and Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota--was unhappy about the comparatively low volume of pediatric services they were providing individually. Given their low patient volume, none were in a position to compete with larger pediatric hospitals, particularly when it came to attracting and keeping top pediatricians on board. The plan behind the proposed merger was to dissolve Children's, fuse the other two systems' pediatrics services and run the resulting entity via a non-profit organization.

Though this approach sounded good in theory, the hospital groups simply couldn't sketch out a strategy that worked for everyone involved. Among other issues, the three systems bickered over where to locate the merged hospital and how to make sure no one party gave up too much control over finances and operations. The three groups now say that the merger proposal is dead. Unfortunately, no one involved seems to have an alternate plan to address the competitive issues that drove them into merger talks in the first place.

To get more detail on the merger talks:
- read this article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press