Sanford shares wealth, sets record

Sanford shares wealth, sets record
There likely won't be any changes in the short term to the health care currently offered at Sioux Valley Vermillion Hospital.

But change is on its way, beginning with a new name. The local hospital is now part of what's known as the Sanford Health System after Saturday's announcement that Sioux Falls businessman T. Denny Sanford is donating $400 million to the health care provider.

The eventual positive effects of such a large donation will be outstanding, said Sioux Valley Medical Center CEO Tim Tracy. "I don't think in the short term there is going to be a lot of change, but in the long haul, what I'm excited is the fact that as they bring people into Sioux Falls and beef up that medical community, that will allow us more outreach services from Sioux Falls."

Sanford's donation is believed the largest ever made to a single healthcare organization. In recognition of the contribution and in honor of Sanford, the Sioux Valley Board of Trustees unanimously voted to re-name the healthcare system Sanford Health.

Vermillion will eventually experience a higher degree of health care because of the donation, Tracy said.

"Right now, from time to time, we struggle to get the right specialist," he said, "to provide care locally. I think that's going to change. I think that in the long term, we'll be able to attract specialty care here so people don't have to travel."

He is also hopeful that as Sanford Health System's facilities in Sioux Falls grows, it will expand physician numbers throughout the state.

"As we look to recruit physicians in the rural areas, we'll have more availability of physician services," Tracy said. "We know that South Dakota is slated to have a physician shortage, and this is really a way to raise the bar and help us in that area."

While the staff at the Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center continues to absorb the

tunities within an integrated system that a gift like this will create for our facility and our patients will only improve the level of care

that we are able to provide."

Through a variety of key initiatives, Sanford Health will address regional and national healthcare issues via an innovative, focused approach to patient care, education and research.

Tracy noted that $400 million gift will position Sanford Health as a national healthcare leader, attracting some top-tier talent to the organization.

"The dollars from this gift are not intended for facility upgrades or new equipment," Tracy said. "The vision is much more detailed than that – the advances in research and education that come from this are going to benefit our community for generations to come.

"It will be exciting to watch our local healthcare landscape develop as a result of this gift," he said.

As a bonus, the improvements to South Dakota's health care system will dovetail nicely with new Sanford USD Medical School, a major project which is now approximately half complete.

"With this kind of push in the medical community, this donation will help to encourage the expansion of the medical education program down here, and also provide some new research-based programs in Sioux Falls," Tracy said. "I'm hoping that the spin-off is great for us."

Over the course of the next year, Sanford Health facilities will be changing their names to reflect the newly developed Sanford identity. While the new facility names have not been finalized, they will likely tie in the new Sanford brand while at the same time maintaining a local identity.

Sanford Health's comprehensive, integrated system includes more than 340 physicians in 115 clinics, 24 hospitals, 13 nursing homes, 17 assisted living facilities and congregate living locations, 27 home health services and 19 pharmacies.

With some 12,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in the region. Its primary 500-bed nonprofit tertiary care hospital in Sioux Falls serves an average of more than 50,000 inpatients annually.

With more than a million outpatient visits each year, Sanford Health has served the 60,000 square mile, four-state region of South Dakota,

Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska for over 110 years. Sanford Health is the largest healthcare system between Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and Denver, CO.

Its divisions include Sanford USD Medical Center, Sanford Clinic, Sanford Regional Health, Sanford Health Plan and Sanford Health Foundation.

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