Orthopedic surgeon, trustee helps guide Sanford’s direction

Dr. Mark Lundeen’s experience brings surgical precision to quality, safety, finance decisions

Orthopedic surgeon, trustee helps guide Sanford’s direction

Mark Lundeen, M.D., is a Sanford trustee and a caregiver at Sanford Health.

The orthopedic surgeon serves patients in the Fargo, North Dakota, region with Sanford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Additionally, Dr. Lundeen chairs the department of orthopedics and sports medicine leadership group.

Prior to joining the Sanford Health team, Dr. Lundeen was part of an independent group of orthopedic surgeons in Fargo that eventually joined the organization. Not long after that, in 2015, he was invited to serve in a governance role – something he was reluctant to at first and ultimately, proud to accept.

“The Board of Trustees has an incredible position and it’s made up of a very unique, diverse group of people,” Dr. Mark Lundeen told Sanford Health News. “What I’ve enjoyed the most is getting to know these people, the relationships we’ve established together and being able to see how the executive team has grown and developed as true leaders of a big system.

“The background in a surgical subspecialty that I have is important for the board to understand because we view medical problems differently, we solve problems differently, our gratification is different,” Dr. Lundeen added.

Committees focus on quality, safety, finance

Dr. Lundeen sits on two committees as a trustee: quality and safety as well as finance. Both, he says, are critical to operational performance.

“When a person presents themselves to any of our facilities, anywhere on the footprint, I think the two basic things that they expect are quality and safety.

“I am so proud of the hard work that the committee and the leadership of the system have done to create objective markers for the quality of care that we deliver,” he said. “That gives us benchmarks we can then compare ourselves to other, similar systems across the enterprise.”

Lundeen noted the changes happening nationwide right now in health care, including the rising costs of delivering care and reimbursement rates which are on the decline. That, in turn, he says has put pressure on health care systems to run as efficiently as possible.

“I’m extremely proud of how hard our operations people are working,” Dr. Lundeen said.

He credits the generosity of philanthropist Denny Sanford for providing the framework for the organization’s many initiatives and, as stewards of his financial gifts to the organization, Lundeen says it is the trustees priority to make sure the dollars are being invested wisely.

Read: Sanford announces $300 million for rural health care access

Commitment to rural care, growth

“Sanford, as an organization, put our stake in the ground to be a premier rural health care delivery system,” Dr. Lundeen said.

He compares some of the problems facing high quality rural care including access, transportation and affordability to some of the same issues facing an inner-city community and believes Sanford is a leader in the industry in finding solutions.

“If we can figure out the most effective way to deliver high quality care to the rural setting, that blueprint should be easily transported to the urban, inner-city ZIP code as well,” Dr. Lundeen explained. “It’s incredibly important work for us to do, but it will give us an opportunity to establish better health care nationwide.”

Read: Sanford Health reimagines rural health care delivery

“I think that Sanford should have a seat at that table where the decisions are being made, because that’s ultimately going to dictate the quality of the health care and the affordability of health care and the right of people to have access to their good quality health care.”

Board diversity ‘critical’ to organization

The Sanford Health Board of Trustees are each elected by the full board and currently serve up to 3, three-year terms. The Board of Trustees Nominating and Governance Committee is responsible for identifying, evaluating, and recommending potential new members based on their qualifications and experience. Trustees represent a broad range of backgrounds, with extensive experience in business and finance, health care, technology, and the nonprofit sector.

Lundeen says different perspectives help challenge his fellow trustees and allow them to make better decisions.

“I think every decision that we make as a board has to be viewed through that lens and as long as we’re staying true to our mission and values, we’ll be doing the right job and making the right decisions,” Lundeen said.

He describes his service as a priority of heart.

“It’s your heart that allows you to respect, understand and make good decisions on a broad spectrum of people,” he added. “This Board of Trustees has a great heart and I think we’re in a really good place.”

Outside of his board service and caring for patients, Dr. Lundeen has a long-time passion for horse competitions. His pride lies not in his medical career success but more so the people who have believed in him, including his wife, kids and colleagues.

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Posted In Corporate Services & Administration, Fargo, Leadership in Health Care, Rural Health