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Minneapolis, MN (KROC-AM News) - The University of Minnesota today announced plans for the eventual development of a new billion-dollar-plus "state-of-the-art medical center" on the east bank of the Twin Cities campus.

The long-range project is one of the five key points of what the U of M terms the MPact Health Care Innovation vision. The other four key points are a world-class academic health system, university governance and control, opportunities for strategic partnerships, and investments in current facilities.

“We have a great research university, a great medical school and a great education program. It just makes sense that we have great hospital facilities in which we can combine all three in the same place,” said Jakub Tolar, dean of the U of M Medical School and vice president for clinical affairs. “Seven of the top 10 hospitals in the U.S. are directly associated with a medical school because that’s how you improve care quickly. You streamline the process of bringing groundbreaking therapies to patients. You improve the practice of medicine by changing it in real-time. We want these benefits for Minnesota and to serve Minnesotans in ways that only a hospital associated with a leading research university can.”

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In announcing the plan today, the University says it intends to gain control of the existing healthcare facilities on the campus in Minneapolis. The University Medical Center East and West Bank facilities, the Masonic Children's Hospital, along with the Clinics and Surgery Center are currently owned by Fairview Health and are operated in a partnership between Fairview and the U of M.

At a news conference today, University officials indicated they will be asking the state legislature for funding to help cover the cost of shifting the health care facilities to University ownership. State assistance will also be sought for upgrading existing facilities and developing the new on-campus hospital.

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