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Sanford Health expands staff

Sanford Health welcomed 103 providers to the health system just this summer. The recruiting class from June-August includes 75 doctors, 25 physician assistants and nurse practitioners, and three other medical professionals. Patient demand was the number one driver but leaders say over-all interest in Sanford seems to be growing.

"As our health system grows and expands throughout our region, it is critical that we are able to provide necessary healthcare services in the communities we serve to meet the individual needs of our patients," said Dr. Dan Blue, President, Sanford Clinic Sioux Falls. "The addition of these new physician specialties to our Sanford family is very gratifying in that it strengthens an already robust team of physicians."

"In an average year, we add around 60-70 new physicians, so this summer's recruiting efforts are exceptional. It takes anywhere from six months to several years to recruit one doctor and those with unique specialties, like the ones we have recruited this summer, may take even longer to recruit." said Dr. Bruce Pitts, President, Sanford Clinic Fargo. "I can't thank our staff enough for all the hard work they have put in. With these additions, patients are getting access to more services in a timelier manner, closer to home."

New Bemidji staff are:

E Promil Bhutani, MD, Family Medicine.

E Michael Lee, MD, Emergency Medicine.

E Bala Davuluri, MD, Neurology.

E Paul Howes, MD, Emergency Medicine & Walk-In Care.

E Chalermkiat Thanasawat, MD, Internal Medicine.

E Deborah Gibb-Potts, NP, Emergency Medicine.

E Tracy Blichfeldt, MD, Internal Medicine.

E Charlene LaFrenz, NP, Emergency Medicine.

E Matthew Lee, MD, Radiology.

E David VanEngelenhoven, MD, Emergency Medicine.

E Frank LeBlanc, MD, Emergency Medicine.

In addition to the multitude of providers who started during June, July and August, Sanford Health continually recruits medical professionals and many more will start in the coming months.

For more information about a provider listed above, including medical education and background, please visit To obtain a provider's photo, please contact Sanford Media Relations.

Sanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Fargo, N.D. It consists of two long-standing organizations that merged in 2009. Sanford is now the largest, rural, not-for-profit healthcare system in the nation serving 110 communities in eight states. It includes 30 hospitals, 111 clinic locations and more than 800 physicians in 70 specialty areas of medicine. With more than 18,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in North and South Dakota. For more information, visit