As the Minnesota Legislature concludes its 2023 session, and pending the signature of Governor Tim Walz on bills passed by the House and Senate, the State’s investments in the University of Minnesota for the coming biennium have become clear.
On Sunday, state lawmakers passed H.F. 402, which requires additional state oversight of health care business transactions. This provision specifically adds protection for the future of the University of Minnesota’s health care mission and academic health system, which benefits millions of Minnesotans.
Under the bill’s provisions, the University’s facilities — including the University Medical Center East and West Bank facilities, and the Masonic Children’s Hospital — are prohibited from ownership or control by a for-profit or out-of-state entity, unless otherwise determined by the attorney general that it is in the public’s interest. The provision also requires the attorney general to consult with the commissioner of health and the University’s Board of Regents.
“This is a critical development toward safeguarding the University of Minnesota academic health system,” said Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Myron Frans. “We are grateful for the legislature’s action in prioritizing the health of Minnesotans and improving the University’s position to continue our mission to train the next generation of health care providers, advance life-changing treatments and cures, and provide innovative care to Minnesotans in every corner of the state.”
The bill will be sent to Governor Walz for his signature, which is expected. The new law will bring the University one step closer to fulfilling its five-point health care vision: a world-class academic medical center, University governance and control of facilities, opportunities for statewide strategic partnerships, planning for a state-of-the-art hospital and investment in current facility needs. The University will continue advocating for a thriving academic health ecosystem to ensure its commitment to discover and advance leading health care delivery models and technologies based on health science research can continue to significantly benefit patients across Minnesota. For more information, visit bettercaremn.umn.edu.
In addition to University considerations in H.F. 402, the U of M received needed funding through the higher education budget bill, ultimately receiving about 39% of the requested funding increases. Three of the University’s six requested budget items were funded, either in part or in full. These include:
- Partial funding for core mission support, which covers necessities such as competitive compensation; tutoring, advising, and other essential student services; classroom equipment and supplies; facility maintenance; and technology, among others.
- Full funding for systemwide safety and security investments, in particular modernizing security infrastructure such as building access controls and cameras on all five U of M campuses.
- Full funding for the American Indian Scholars Program, which will provide full undergraduate tuition and fee scholarships for eligible Minnesota American Indian students at any of the University of Minnesota’s five campuses.
In addition to these items, funding from the bill will also support the University in areas such as applied research at Natural Resources Research Institute and medical school programming in St. Cloud proposed through an affiliation with CentraCare Health Systems.
Each year, the University also requests state funding for capital investment projects, which include specific projects as well as money for Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) to address the more than $4.5 billion in infrastructure backlog across the U of M System. Through its infrastructure bill, the legislature allocated $43.35 million for the University’s HEAPR needs, as well as funding for badly needed renovation at Fraser Hall, the chemistry undergraduate teaching laboratories at the Twin Cities campus.
“We are grateful for the continued partnership of the legislature and the Governor on the University’s biggest needs. That partnership has helped us provide the education, innovation and outreach that has improved the lives of Minnesotans for more than 170 years, and we know the investments made by the state now will pay substantial returns for Minnesota for years to come,” added Frans.