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Sanford to invest $200 million in N.D. health services

BISMARCK, N.D. - Sanford Health will invest $200 million over the next 10 years to enhance health services in Bismarck-Mandan and throughout western North Dakota, including a new super clinic in Dickinson, the company announced Thursday.

Ten days after Medcenter One and Sanford Health officially merged, company executives gave a glimpse of some of their future plans during a news conference in Bismarck.

Sanford is planning a new clinic in Dickinson that will have space for additional physicians, a walk-in clinic, an ambulatory surgery center and diagnostic services. Sanford is also looking into medical air service from Bismarck to the Oil Patch to help meet the needs of that region.

Sanford Bismarck President and CEO Craig Lambrecht called the official merger "a big day."

"I can tell you with a lot of pride that the relationship that we have as Sanford going forward is one that is going to create a lot of stir in western and central North Dakota because this is a game changer for health care," he said.

Sanford Health promises to recruit more physicians, provide the latest medical technology and innovations in care, and expand and upgrade services and facilities to meet the growing needs of people across North Dakota, the company said.

One of the first priorities of the merger was to make sure employees felt secure in their jobs and knew life going forward would be filled with opportunities, said Sanford Health President and CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft.

The merger means Sanford Health now has more than 1,200 physicians and 25,000 employees in seven states, including several facilities in northern Minnesota cities like Bemidji, Bagley, Cass Lake, Red Lake, Walker and Blackduck.

Part of the discussion of the merger was how to increase access and there's "enormous opportunity" in Dickinson, Lambrecht said.

"We know we need to expand, and we know that we need to provide state-of-the-art care in that community," he said.

Medcenter One now has 93 employees in Dickinson. Details about where the new clinic would be located, when exactly it would open and how many employees may be added were not provided Thursday.

Lambrecht said to "stay tuned" and further information would be released in the near future.

Expanding air transport and trauma services also was among the announcements Thursday.

Krabbenhoft said Harold Hamm, CEO of the oil drilling company Continental Resources, called him a few months ago to inquire about providing service in the Oil Patch.

Krabbenhoft said his response at the time was it looked like the merger with Medcenter would happen and then resources could be organized to help meet the needs. Details of providing medical air service to the Oil Patch are still being worked out.

Sanford also is looking at its options for how to merge the Medcenter and Sanford clinics in Jamestown, including whether to move the staffs into one building, Krabbenhoft said. Jamestown has 47 Medcenter and 81 Sanford employees.

Medcenter One will operate under the Sanford Health name. Bismarck-Mandan will serve as hub of Sanford Health, along with Fargo and Sioux Falls, S.D., Krabbenhoft said.

"By coming together, we will be able to better meet the growing health care needs of our entire state," Lambrecht said.