Today, the Governor's Task Force on Academic Health at the University of Minnesota issued its final report and forwarded 20 recommendations on how to strengthen the University of Minnesota’s academic health system to the Governor’s Office and to legislators for consideration.
Governor Tim Walz issued an Executive Order in August 2023 establishing the task force charged with developing recommendations for University of Minnesota health sciences programs that support world-class academic health professions education, research and care delivery to help ensure Minnesotans’ access to high quality care, centering primary care, equity and affordability for all communities across the state.
“Minnesota has developed a well-deserved reputation for innovative, cutting-edge health care that benefits not only state residents but patients from across the globe, and the University of Minnesota is an essential leader in this system,” Governor Walz said. “I created this task force last year to ensure that this vital resource for the health of our state continues to thrive and can effectively meet the needs of all Minnesotans into the future. I value the range of recommendations that the task force has submitted, and I look forward to working with the University of Minnesota, legislators and the broader health care system to achieve the long-term vision for a healthier Minnesota.”
The 15-member task force appointed by Governor Walz was chaired by former Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm and began meeting in October 2023. It was comprised of experts from across the state that have played an active role in health care education, policy development, care delivery, workforce issues and health equity. Former Governors Mark Dayton and Tim Pawlenty served as special advisors to the task force.
“I appreciate the hard work of the task force members and applaud the leadership shown by the University of Minnesota to help us address the challenges facing health care,” said Chairperson Malcolm. “We had many candid and challenging conversations, but I believe the final recommendations made by the task force provide a solid foundation for sustaining the University of Minnesota as a driver for improving the health of Minnesotans and for the strength of our economy. The task force report also points out that the complexity of our health care system, as well as the challenges and opportunities the future will bring, means that the University of Minnesota can’t do this alone.”
The recommendations submitted for consideration by the task force cover a range of topics, with varying degrees of detail and consensus. The highest priority recommendations call for a swift resolution to negotiations between the University of Minnesota and Fairview Health, an integrated strategic plan across all University of Minnesota health sciences programs, increased emphasis and funding for health workforce initiatives, and continued exploration of the University’s proposals as they are developed within the University and in the legislative process.
The University is working on three priority proposals in the areas of annual funding, financial support for facilities, equipment and technology, and planning for new facilities to be built in future years. These proposals will likely be considered by the Board of Regents, and upon approval by the Board of Regents will be forwarded to the Governor and Legislature for consideration The task force recommends that these strategic investments take place within certain parameters to support both the University’s academic health system of today as well as broader health system and workforce needs of the future.
Lastly, the task force recognizes that additional stakeholder engagement on many of its recommendations is needed, including from other key players within Minnesota’s health care ecosystem.
The full report is available on the Governor's Task Force on Academic Health at the University of Minnesota website.