Creating a fully integrated health system

Brooks Jackson, M.D., M.B.A.On October 9, the University of Minnesota took an important step aimed at elevating our Medical School and our other health sciences schools when the Board of Regents approved a nonbinding letter of intent that calls for combining Fairview Health Services and University of Minnesota Physicians (UMP) into a single, fully integrated academic health system.

Operating under the University of Minnesota Health name, this new system would bring together one of the region’s premier physician groups with one of the oldest and most respected health systems in the state. This would allow us to provide exceptional clinical care across Minnesota, while also supporting our critical education and research missions.

In developing the letter of intent, the University, UMP, and Fairview agreed to a set of key principles that are considered to be critical to the success of an academic health system and that will guide discussion about a definitive agreement. Among these core principles is the conviction that clinical care, research, training, and education will be at the core of the mission and vision of the combined enterprise.

The benefits of a fully integrated academic health system are clear — for our organizations, for our patients, and for our communities. It would:

  • Strengthen our shared academic mission to improve health, discover new treatments and cures, and educate the health workforce to help people lead longer, healthier lives
  • Deliver market-leading clinical quality, service, efficiency, and growth 
  • Accelerate research efforts and help bring new treatments and cures to patients more quickly and more efficiently
  • Prepare the next generation of health professionals through a thriving Medical School and greater access to clinical training sites across the care continuum
  • Help elevate the Medical School into the top tier of institutions across the country by generating additional resources to support it

This is a significant step forward for our Medical School and all of our health sciences. An academic health center needs to be part of a comprehensive health system to be world class in the prevention and treatment of disease and to train future health-science leaders. At the same time, a world-class health system needs access to the leading-edge medical breakthroughs that have the potential to transform patient treatment and care.

We are hopeful that we will be able to negotiate this historic agreement for possible approval by March 31, 2016, with a proposed effective date of July 1, 2016. Please check www.health.umn.edu/academic-health-system for updates on the negotiations.

Brooks Jackson, M.D., M.B.A.
Medical School Dean and Vice President for Health Sciences

Published on October 19, 2015