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Sanford, U talks are off

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Sanford, U talks are off
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ST. PAUL -- Minnesota leaders say they are relieved that talks ended Wednesday that could have allowed University of Minnesota health facilities to be governed by out-of-state owners, but lawmakers say they will pursue legislation to prevent that from happening in the future.

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Talks among three major Upper Midwest health organizations ended Wednesday.

University President Eric Kaler said in an email that "the status quo is not sustainable," but his office said he would not answer questions about his comments.

Sanford Health, based in North Dakota and South Dakota, announced it would end talks to merge with Fairview Health Services, a Twin Cities-based charity that operates the university's hospitals. Then Fairview announced it would end negotiations with the university, which had floated the idea it would take over Fairview.

Minnesota lawmakers were concerned that decisions about university medical centers would be made in a Sioux Falls, S.D., board room.

"I'm relieved that that particular piece of the issue is resolved," Rep. Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, said, adding that the Legislature still needs to consider any future attempts to take over the university's operations.

A bill Schoen and Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, introduced would require university facilities to be controlled by a Minnesota organization.

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Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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