An open letter from President and CEO Bill Gassen

Sioux Falls, S.D., Nov. 25, 2020 — As the new president and CEO of Sanford Health, I’m excited for the future and continuing our steadfast focus on patients and the communities we serve. I wanted to share a letter from our Sanford Family, including our physicians, nursing staff and others who bring our mission to life, about an important issue and the care we provide every day.

— Bill Gassen, President and CEO, Sanford Health

Dear Sanford Heath patient,

Keeping you healthy, treating you when you are ill or injured, and caring about your well-being are our top priorities. You rely on your health system to not only take excellent care of you and your loved ones, but also for science-based information and support on health-related matters. During this pandemic, you have trusted us as a resource and as a provider and we take that responsibility seriously.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have strived as a health system to provide clear, consistent, evidence-based advice both to the community and to each of you during our visits. Although our specific recommendations have evolved as we’ve learned more about this virus, our commitment to science has remained front and center.

Recently, the former CEO of our organization shared his personal opinions about COVID-19, causing frustration and disappointment among our staff and patients. His comments do not represent our values and principles as health care providers.

Although we are employed by Sanford Health, we work for you. The primary motivation for every recommendation is what will be best for you, your families and the communities we all share. Currently, those recommendations include wearing a mask in public, maintaining social distance when outside your home and limiting large gatherings, as these have been shown to decrease the spread of the novel coronavirus.  We understand that these safety precautions are not easy, and come with significant personal sacrifice, with negative impacts on our mental and emotional well-being.

However, as we see the situation unfold in our hospitals, each of us needs to step up and do our part so we can continue to provide the level of care that you expect and deserve. Although we have been able to rise to the challenge, this is only because of truly extraordinary dedication from every member of our health care teams. They can only sustain this level of effort for so long, and we need your help to serve you as well as we possibly can.

We are humbled by the trust that you place in us; we do not take it for granted and aim to earn that every day. We thank you for this and ask that you give us the opportunity to gain back any trust that may have been lost.

This pandemic is not over, but there is a light on the horizon and it’s brighter today because of the tremendous efforts of the entire medical community. The best of science and medicine will continue to guide us as we band together to put this pandemic in our rearview mirror.

We are grateful to you, our patients, for your confidence in us and for voicing your concerns. It’s your trust that allows Sanford Health to do the remarkable and for that, we thank you.

With gratitude and optimism,

Our Sanford Family

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health, one of the largest health systems in the United States, is dedicated to the integrated delivery of health care, genomic medicine, senior care and services, global clinics, research and affordable insurance. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the organization includes 46 hospitals, 1,400 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and 10 countries. Learn more about Sanford Health’s transformative work to improve the human condition at or Sanford Health News.