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Sanford Health expands medical staff

Sanford Health welcomed 103 providers to the health system this summer.

The recruiting class from June to August comprised 75 doctors, 25 physician assistants and nurse practitioners, and three other medical professionals. Leaders said patient demand was the number one driver but that overall 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 of 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 of 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:

- Promil Bhutani, MD, Family Medicine.

- Bala Davuluri, MD, Neurology.

- Chalermkiat Thanasawat, MD, Internal Medicine.

- Tracy Blichfeldt, MD, Internal Medicine.

- Matthew Lee, MD, Radiology.

- Michael Lee, MD, Emergency Medicine.

- Frank LeBlanc, MD, Emergency Medicine.

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

- Deborah Gibb-Potts, NP, Emergency Medicine.

- Charlene LaFrenz, NP, Emergency Medicine.- David VanEngelenhoven, MD, Emergency Medicine.

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

For details, visit the website

Sanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Fargo, N.D. After a merger with MeritCare in 2009, Sanford is the largest rural, not-for-profit healthcare system in the United States, serving 110 communities, including Bemidji, in eight states.