Several new or expanded Sanford Health clinics offer patients more scheduling options and easier access where they live and work. That includes downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and the growing outskirts of Sioux Falls and Fargo, North Dakota.
“We have a long history of providing convenient care in the neighborhoods and close to where people work. That way, they have easy access to the health care they need,” said Terri Carlson, executive director of the women, family medicine, and psychiatry and psychology departments. “We consistently focus on having exemplary providers, service and locations.”
Because of that approach, health care clinic volumes continue to increase year over year, she said.
“We did a lot of planning of what we need to do in Sioux Falls with all the new mom-and-pop operations coming,” Carlson said. “We actually experienced a growth, even when they opened all those existing locations.”
The health care organization is the largest rural not-for-profit system in the U.S. It serves thousands of people in remote areas who don’t think twice about driving 90 minutes for health care services. For the urban customers, location and hours of service are key, said Phil Clark, director of marketing analysis at Sanford Health.
“We have a very diverse patient base, and we have to meet those people where they are. In the rural setting, it’s less about being in their backyard and more about making sure they have the services they need,” he said.
What people want
Clark said a 2017 market research survey across the Sanford Health footprint identified opportunities to better meet patient needs. It found that:
- Ten percent of patients in Sioux Falls and Fargo would switch to Sanford Health if a primary health care clinic were closer to their home
- Neighborhoods on the west side of both cities had almost half of the patients wanting a clinic closer to home
As a result, Sanford Health:
- Built a new clinic in western Sioux Falls that has what the surrounding neighborhoods want most
- Is in the process of constructing a new clinic to replace its existing West Fargo clinic and plans to open a new clinic in southwest Fargo
Additional research in 2018 centered on how the organization could better accommodate patient scheduling needs, Clark said.
It showed that for about 70 percent of people, a health care clinic near their home works best, and around 20 percent of working moms wanted appointments before or after work. Also, nearly 80 percent of patients would make weekend appointments if they were available, he said.
As a result, Sanford Health:
- Opened a clinic in the new Lewis Drug store in downtown Sioux Falls with specialty care
- Shifted primary care hours earlier or later at clinics, depending on each location’s needs
- Implemented a new recruiting strategy to attract care providers who offer office hours Tuesday through Saturday
New clinic specifics
Here are details of some of the new or planned Sanford Health clinics:
Downtown Sioux Falls
This health care clinic opened Aug. 30 in downtown Sioux Falls, where more than 2,300 people work and 15,000 commute to every day.
“We recognize that downtown continues to grow, and it’s vital that our patients have easy access to care without having to travel out of their neighborhood,” said Paul Hanson, executive vice president of Sanford Health in Sioux Falls.
“Since opening, we’ve seen more people coming in than we’ve expected,” added Jon Pociask, director of operations at the clinic. “The clinic has been well received by the downtown community.”
The new location is the seventh site that offers the combination of Sanford Health clinical services and a Lewis Drug pharmacy in one location.
Pociask said the new site offers something that downtown was missing: quick and easy health care access with specialties like walk-in care and family medicine.
Western Sioux Falls
The new Sioux Falls clinic in the western part of the city, which opened Dec. 3, offers behavioral health, children’s, family medicine, women’s services and more.
The clinic, which also offers acute care, includes more than 50 exam rooms for family medicine, children’s, OB-GYN and allergy services plus six procedure rooms and lab services. Patients have the option to meet with genetic counselors, integrated health therapists and health coaches in private consultation rooms.
It also has a Lewis Drug store and pharmacy attached. The 42,000-square-foot facility replaced the former clinic at 41st Street and Sertoma Avenue.
Sanford Health will offer expanded clinic hours and increased access to primary and women’s care at two locations opening this year in or near West Fargo.
Starting Jan. 26, the current Sanford West Fargo Clinic began offering Saturday hours from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for primary care and walk-in patients. Construction crews are also building a new two-story clinic to replace the existing clinic on the same property. Once completed, the $10 million project will encompass 26,000 square feet and offer primary care, women’s and children’s services.
A second Sanford Health clinic location is also under construction in the Veterans Square mall. It’s expected to open late spring, with nearly 6,000 square feet dedicated to children’s and primary care services.
“West Fargo is the fastest-growing city in North Dakota, and we’re committed to growing right along with it,” said Nate White, president of Sanford Fargo. “Expanded and new clinic space allows us to meet the needs of our patients now, while ensuring we’re ready for future growth. Offering convenience, access, space and specialties close to where those in our community live and work is a priority for us.”
Fargo digestive health center
In addition to the new primary care offerings, Sanford Health also opened in January a new Center for Digestive Health in Fargo focused on diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal and digestive health issues.
It specializes in digestive health, gastroenterology, cancer screenings and colorectal screenings. The four physicians based at the clinics see patients for:
- Acid reflux/chronic heartburn
- Stomach pain after eating
- Persistent nausea, diarrhea or constipation
- Disorders of the pancreas, gallbladder, esophagus, liver, stomach, small intestine and colon
- Symptoms or diagnosis of celiac disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease disorders of the pancreas, gallbladder, esophagus, liver, stomach, small intestine and colon
The center is an extension of Sanford Broadway Clinic, which still offers digestive and gastrointestinal care. The center will help meet increased demand for services such as colonoscopies and endoscopies.
In addition to adding evening and weekend hours, offering walk-in locations and opening new clinics, Sanford Health also treats an increasing number of patients through its 24-hour-a-day Sanford On Call options that allow people to:
- Call an experienced Sanford Health nurse who can help assess symptoms and answer questions
- Email a physician through My Sanford Chart
- Set up a video visit with a health care provider using a laptop, tablet or mobile device
Look for the neon lights
Patient Marla Meyer usually sees Sanford Health doctors in the central and eastern parts of Sioux Falls. She also communicates with them through My Sanford Chart for herself and her 9-year-old twin son and daughter.
But while returning from a cross-state trip last fall, she dropped off a co-worker on the west side of the city and urgently looked for a clinic on that end of town before closing time to seek relief from a cough and shortness of breath.
“As I was driving and coughing, I was thinking, ‘I have to find those blue neon lights.’ And that was all I could think of,” she said of the Sanford Health beacons signifying that healing can be found at that location. “They were kind of my guide that night.”
Meyer did find a clinic before it closed.
“I had just never been there because it wasn’t my normal place.”
More about Sanford On Call