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From the Dakotas to Ireland and Oregon, Sanford Expands Clinics for Kids

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 15, 2010

South Dakota-based Sanford Health will use part of its $400 million gift from philanthropist Denny Sanford to open two children's "Castle of Care" clinics, one of them in Dublin, Ireland and the other in Klamath Falls, OR.

The Dublin Clinic is a collaborative effort between Sanford and two providers in Ireland: Hermitage Medical Clinic, a 101-bed hospital in West Dublin and Vhi Healthcare, a large insurance company in Ireland. The clinic will be the second international Sanford effort and one of five Sanford Children's Clinics operating or being planned so far.

The project will allow Hermitage to offer additional pediatric care and lab and imaging services, and will "meet a fundamental gap between primary care and tertiary care," said Jimmy Tolan, Vhi's chief executive.

It is expected to open in 2012 with two full-time pediatricians to act as first referral sources and eight to 10 subspecialty pediatricians.

Last month, Sanford broke ground with its Sanford Children's Clinic in Belize City, Belize. And, the healthcare system also announced the launch of Sanford's Children's Clinic in Oceanside, CA, which will share space with Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego starting in spring of 2011.

Sanford also plans a "Castle of Care" Clinic in Klamath Falls, OR that will expand pediatric healthcare services starting sometime in 2012. It will serve a metropolitan area with a population of about 45,000 including more than 5,000 children in a four-county market service area that reaches into Northern California.

"Like many communities Sanford currently serves, Klamath Falls is a growing area that is geographically isolated from other larger cities," said Dave Link, Sanford Health-MeritCare Senior Executive Vice President. "Paired with local physicians and partners, the services we provide will allow for a solid foundation from which pediatric care can match the growth of the community," he said.

In Klamath Falls, Sanford will work with Sky Lakes Medical Center and the Klamath Pediatric Clinic. When it opens in 2012, the Castle of Care will be about 9,000 square feet.

One requirement for Sanford Clinics is that local efforts must produce a match to Sanford's $2.5 million and part of that will come through coordinating efforts of the JELD-WEN Foundation, which has obtained commitments for more than $1.225 million.

Paul Stewart, CEO of Sky Lakes Medical Center, said the new clinic will provide necessary services to "benefit children and young families for years, and we look forward to the growth both organizations will experience together."

The new clinics in Oceanside, Dublin, Belize and Klamath Falls join the first clinic, which opened in Duncan OK in last August.

Sanford Health-MeritCare is the result of the merger of two health systems who joined hands last year to build the largest rural not-for-profit healthcare system in the nation, serving six states. Sanford Health-MeritCare includes 30 hospitals, 1,600 beds, 800 physicians in 70 specialty practices and employees more than 18,000 people.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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