Fairview Health Services is expanding its affiliation with a hospital on the far side of the St. Croix River as competition picks up among Minnesota nonprofit groups that do business in western Wisconsin.
Minneapolis-based Fairview announced this week that it will begin providing consulting services to Burnett Medical Center in Grantsburg, Wis., located about 80 miles northeast of the Twin Cities. It will also appoint a Fairview official to the Wisconsin hospital's board.
Fairview and Burnett Medical Center already have a partnership for pharmacy services. Financial terms of the new agreement were not disclosed.
"This is not a merger. Burnett will remain a fully independent organization," Dan Fromm, Fairview's chief financial officer, said in a written response to questions. "While this partnership may open doors to new care options for Burnett patients, our primary intent with this agreement is to provide consultation and services that strengthen Burnett's ability to provide care to patients close to home."
In February, the Rochester-based Mayo Clinic proposed building a medical facility in Hudson, Wis., about a mile from a hospital run by HealthPartners, a Bloomington-based health system. Health Partners said an increased number of patients from western Wisconsin have been traveling to Regions Hospital, the medical center it owns in St. Paul.
Minneapolis-based Allina Health System, which operates the hospital in the nearby Wisconsin town of River Falls, opened a clinic in the area last year to provide access to specialty services.
Last year, Fairview merged with St. Paul-based HealthEast, which means Fairview's clinic and hospital operations moved even closer to the Wisconsin market. From that base "we are well positioned to bring our expertise to western Wisconsin," Fromm said in a news release.
In his written comments to the Star Tribune, Fromm noted that western Wisconsin patients already travel to Fairview's clinic in Pine City, which is about 20 miles west of Grantsburg.
"Our strongly held belief is that a partnership with Fairview will help us embrace the health care transformation from volume to value," Gordy Lewis, chief executive of Burnett Medical Center, said in a statement. "Partnership with Fairview offers us a greater focus on wellness and population health and will help us meet our goal of seamless clinical integration across the spectrum of care."
Last year, Fairview posted operating income of $98.5 million on $5.27 billion in revenue. An IRS filing for Burnett Medical Center shows the Wisconsin hospital in fiscal 2016 reported a slight loss on $19.8 million of revenue.