You know why I keep Larry Kurtz around? Because he provides useful information, like this update that Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson has scared Sanford Health out of its merger talks with Fairview Health:
Sanford Health is withdrawing from merger discussions with Fairview, according to a statement released by the company.
The announcement comes three days after Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson held a public hearing to question whether the merger was in the best interest of Fairview Health Services. The merger talks had been underway for weeks, but just last week the University of Minnesota made public that it was also courting Fairview.
Swanson had been wary of the potential merger between Sanford and Fairview for a number of reasons, especially because Fairview is a charitable institution whose net worth of $1.2 billion in assets was created by Minnesotans through tax breaks, donations, and land for the benefit of Minnesotans [Melanie Sommer, "Sanford Withdraws from Fairview Merger Talks," Minnesota Public Radio, 2013.04.10].
Sanford had said that this merger was all about improving quality of care and reducing costs. If that was the case, Sanford CEO Kelby K. Krabbenhoft now appears more concerned about Sanford's reputation:
I am now concerned that the good reputation of Sanford may be injured by a process that only intended the highest of ideals and integrity for what we believed to be a compelling solution to the challenges facing health care delivery today and in the future. As such, I think it's time for Sanford to withdraw from this process... [Krabbenhoft, quoted by Sommer, 2013.04.10].
If you take corporate baloney literally, Krabbenhoft is saying, "We had a really good plan that would have helped a lot of people... but our image is more important, so we're not going to bother." With that kind of self-interested focus, Minnesota's attorney general was probably right to cast scrutiny on the now-defunct merger. Well done, AG Swanson!