Skip to main content

South Dakota's Sanford Health and Minnesota's Fairview Health Services have announced a plan to merge.

Sioux Falls-based Sanford and Minneapolis-based Fairview revealed their merger plan on Tuesday, with the two nonprofits having signed a "non-binding letter of intent" to combine and "create a new health system."

Under the terms of the deal, Sanford Health will become the parent company of both nonprofit entities, with Sanford CEO Bill Gassen to become the top executive of the combined system. 

According to the announcement, Fairview CEO James Hereford will stay on the job for one year after the closing. 

The combined system aims to join Sanford's experience serving rural communities with Fairview's experience in urban areas. 

“With Sanford Health, Fairview Health Services has found a partner that shares our Midwestern values and our commitment to affordable, accessible and equitable care delivery,” Hereford stated Tuesday.

"Our complementary capabilities mean that together, we are uniquely positioned to improve clinical outcomes, develop new care delivery models, expand opportunities for employees and clinicians across our broader operational footprint, and apply our combined resources to positively impact the well-being of our patients and communities today and for decades to come.”

Sanford Health serves more than one million patients across 47 medical centers, after a period in which it has aggressively expanded across the Dakotas and western Minnesota.

Fairview Health Services includes more than 31,000 employees across 11 hospitals and more than 80 outpatient clinics, with most of its locations in the Twin Cities metro.

State regulators will need to sign off on the final deal, which is expected to close in 2023. 

Sanford pursued a similar deal with Fairview in 2013, which ultimately failed. 

Then-Attorney General Lori Swanson scrutinized the proposed merger because of how tax breaks and donations had supported Fairview's growth, according to MPR News. 

It's also not clear at this time how the merger would impact Fairview's collaboration with the University of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota Physicians on the health organization known as M Health Fairview.

Next Up


Suspect in Minneapolis bar killing charged with weapons crime

The suspect has not been charged with murder in the case as of Wednesday.

snow, blowing snow

A monster storm is coming next week: What will happen?

What we know with high confidence at this point is that there will be a monster storm in the central U.S. by the early and middle part of next week.

police lights

Boy safe after kidnapping by non-custodial parent in Mankato

The search prompted the temporary shutdown of I-35 Tuesday night.


11 face charges after being found 'exploring' Fridley sewer system

A 911 caller reported seeing a group removing a manhole cover Monday night.


Man killed by St. Paul police ID'd by family, community demands answers

The man was identified as 24-year-old Howard Johnson.

Screen Shot 2022-12-07 at 7.38.02 AM

Quick shot of snow to impact morning commute in Twin Cities

Snow is moving into the metro Wednesday morning.


Body found in burned out car near Bird Island identified as local farmer

The deceased is a 59-year-old man from rural Bird Island.

Screen Shot 2022-12-06 at 2.47.44 PM

Minneapolis' Khâluna named in Eater's 2022 'Best New Restaurants'

The restaurant, opened in 2021, is known for its Laotian cuisine.

ambulance, crash

3 pedestrians struck by drivers Monday in Minnesota; 2 dead

The victims involved a 39-year-old man and two 74-year-old men.


bethesda hospital

Fairview's hospital closures raise mental health concerns

Fairview Health Services' closure of two hospitals will mean fewer inpatient mental health beds in the area.

keith ellison

Ellison seeks public feedback on Fairview-Sanford merger

The two healthcare companies announced their plans to merge earlier this month.

bethesda hospital

Fairview Health Services to cut 900 jobs, close Bethesda Hospital

It's also planning to reduce it services at St. Joseph's Hospital.

Sanford Health

Sanford Health 'parts ways' with CEO after his face mask comments

Kelby Krabbenhoft had been with the company since 1996.