ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP/WCCO) — Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson held a public hearing on a proposal that would give a South Dakota-based company control over Fairview Health Services and the University of Minnesota’s medical center.

Sanford Health of Sioux Falls, S.D., has proposed acquiring Fairview Health Services. However, Swanson has raised concern that putting one of the state’s largest hospital systems in the hands of an outside company is not in the best interests of Minnesotans.

At the hearing, a former kidney transplant patient Tom Fuller gave his take.

“I don’t think that anybody from anywhere in the country can walk into Minnesota with deep pockets and say that ‘we are going to take over the institution,’” Fuller said.

Fairview Health’s Scott Dudero, who works on the loading dock, says there’s a reason why so many of his co-workers attended the hearing.

“I think they want to see Fairview be successful and they have concerns — genuine concerns,” said Dudero.

Because Fairview is a nonprofit, Swanson oversees the company and called the meeting so the public could give their take on a merger and so Sanford representatives could talk.

Sanford spokeswoman Becky Nelson said, “We bring a track record of promises made, promises kept in Sanford’s previous affiliates.”

According to Sanford, the talks are preliminary and they only want to strengthen patients and Fairview. No decisions were made.

Another public hearing is set for April 21.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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