Sanford Aberdeen celebrates a decade of growth

More providers, preventive care and community involvement drive health system’s support

Nighttime view outside three-story Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center.

Since the opening of the Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center in July 2012, Sanford Health has worked to improve the lives of Aberdeen, South Dakota-area residents with access to the full spectrum of health care services.

At the same time, Sanford Health has invested heavily in the Aberdeen community, knowing that health care goes beyond the walls of hospitals and clinics.

These accomplishments align with the organization’s mission to become the premier rural health system in America. With a focus on delivering world-class health care to rural areas like Aberdeen, Sanford Health has set itself apart and changed countless lives for good.

Care close to home

Sanford Aberdeen’s story officially began in November 2008 when the United Clinic became the Sanford Aberdeen Clinic, a midsized facility with 100 employees. But it wasn’t until the construction of the 113,000-square-foot, $60 million medical center in 2012 that the organization really got its footing in the community.

In the 10 years since, Sanford Health has expanded access to a number of specialty services for patients in and around Aberdeen, including orthopedics, emergency medicine, cardiology, oncology and pregnancy care.

The organization has also upgraded its facilities and technology, especially imaging and other diagnostic tools, while significantly increasing the number of staff and providers to meet growing patient needs. What was once a team of 100 Sanford Aberdeen employees is now 450, including 60 providers.

“Sanford Aberdeen provides personalized care and specialty services close to home,” said Executive Director Ashley Erickson. “Our employees are top-notch and continue to step up to treat our patients and families with the utmost respect and quality right here in Aberdeen.”

Steve Redmond, M.D., chief of staff for Sanford Aberdeen, has been caring for Aberdeen residents since 1994. He said Sanford Health now draws patients from across the region and drives the local standard of care.

“There are patients coming to Aberdeen from areas I never used to see,” Dr. Redmond said. “The Sanford presence has made everyone step up their quality of service, making our city a great place to receive care.”

In the community

Truly healthy communities prioritize preventive care, mental health and well-rounded development for their residents.

That’s why Sanford Health’s contributions to the Aberdeen community include scholarships and sports medicine partnerships with local high schools and colleges, plus athletic performance training and injury management through Sanford POWER, which serves more than 180 local student athletes each summer.

It’s also why Sanford Aberdeen has plans to expand its behavioral health services in the coming years.

“Our top two community health needs as prioritized by a local community stakeholder committee are improving physical activity and nutrition for our residents and increasing access to health care providers, particularly for mental health services and education,” Erickson said.

These ongoing community investments reflect Sanford Health’s understanding that good growth is mutual. If the organization wishes to continue growing in healthy ways, it must help its communities do the same.

All told, Sanford Health’s direct contributions to the Aberdeen community total more than $14 million since 2012. But that’s not the whole story.

There’s the organization’s economic impact: a more indirect metric that includes wages paid to residents and the economic activity those wages induce, plus the revenue Sanford Health has created for other local businesses through construction, renovation and other services. That totals nearly $600 million since the opening of the medical center.

“We take pride in making Aberdeen a better place to live,” Erickson said. “Our care extends beyond our hospital and clinics, as we are active in the communities we serve, investing substantial resources to ensure better health for all.”

The future of rural health care

As Sanford Health works to become the premier rural health system in America, one thing stays in focus: the patient.

“Everything revolves around the patient,” Dr. Redmond said. “I practice in a rural area because I like being close to the people I care for and being part of their lives. We speak the same language.”

To better serve rural patients, Sanford Health has plans to expand and improve its virtual care services. A new virtual care center, backed by a $300 million philanthropic gift, will be built in the coming years to provide even more access to care for rural areas like Aberdeen, reflecting the organization’s claim that it is here for all — no matter a patient’s spot on a map.

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Posted In Company News, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Sanford Sports