Updated on April 4, 2023
Sanford Health and Fairview Health Services have delayed their merger plans for a second time, citing in a statement a request from the Minnesota Attorney General's Office for more time to review the combination.
The 58-hospital deal was originally set to close March 31 before being bumped back to May 31 in February.
Though the organizations didn't share a specific date in the latest postponement, the systems said they will be delaying the proposed merger beyond May 31 and will give the office 90 days' notice prior to their new target close date.
"We respect the thorough review underway by the Attorney General’s Office and are honoring their request for more time as we continue work toward finalizing our combination," Fairview and Sanford said in an emailed joint statement. "We remain confident in the benefits of the merger for our people, patients and communities and our shared vision to advance world-class health care for all we serve."
The office previously said it received thousands of public comments regarding the merger proposal and wants to have enough time to explore how the deal might affect the organizations' nearly 80,000 employees, regional health services and insurance rates, among other concerns.
Sanford Health and Fairview Health Services have agreed to push back their planned megamerger by two months.
The health systems said in a statement that they jointly determined they should "voluntarily" move the expected closure date for the deal to May 31, according to a report in MPR News. The merger was originally set to close March 31, but Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison asked the two providers to delay.
The deal includes 58 hospitals, and, if the two systems are joined, they would employ more than 80,000 people.
"We continue to work cooperatively with the attorney general to ensure they have the information necessary for the review," the two health systems said in a joint statement, per MPR.
However, Ellison's office said in a statement that the parties have not complied with all of the requests for additional details, according to the article. Deputy Chief of Staff John Stiles said that "additional time is not enough on its own" to ensure the deal is a good move for people living in Minnesota and that the health systems need to provide the requested information to be sure the deal is fully vetted.
Fierce Healthcare has reached out to the health systems for additional information.
The review process is not new to Sanford or Fairview; the health systems attempted a similar merger attempt a decade ago that was torpedoed by the attorney general.