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Sanford Health breaks ground on Virtual Care Center in South Dakota, plans 5 pilot satellite clinics

Sanford Health has begun construction on a 60,000-square-foot Virtual Care Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The facility will cost between $50-$60 million and will serve as a hub for a network of virtual clinics and telehealth services across the health system's footprint.

Sanford Virtual Care Center Rendering, showing a walkway leading to a large glassed-in multi-story building.
Sanford Health broke ground on its 60,000-square-foot Virtual Care Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Tuesday, Aug. 23.
Contributed / Sanford Health
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Sanford Health broke ground on its Virtual Care Center, a new facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Tuesday, Aug. 23.

The 60,000-square-foot facility is expected to cost between $50 million and $60 million and is planned to open in 2024. When complete, it will serve as a hub for a network of virtual clinics and telehealth services, as well as education and research initiatives, Sanford Health said.

“At Sanford Health, we take great pride in serving America’s heartland. It is part of our legacy and our identity. Today, we take a critical step toward transforming the health care experience across rural America by breaking ground on the Sanford Virtual Care Center,” Bill Gassen, president and CEO of Sanford Health, said in a news release.

Sanford Health is based in Sioux Falls and bills itself as the largest rural health care system in the nation. It has 47 medical centers across the Upper Midwest, including major facilities in Sioux Falls, Fargo and Bemidji, 224 clinics, 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care centers and nearly 48,000 employees.

The new Sanford Virtual Care Center will be paid for by a $350 million donation by T. Denny Sanford, the billionaire credit card mogul and the South Dakota's richest resident. Sanford has donated hundreds of millions to Sanford Health and the health system was renamed in his honor.

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The center is part of a virtual care initiative Sanford Health announced in 2021, also significantly funded by Sanford, the health system's chief patron .

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The Sanford Virtual Care Center will feature dedicated clinician workspaces equipped with the latest telemedicine technology to offer a variety of service lines, including on-demand urgent care, behavioral health care and primary care, Sanford Health said.

“This flagship center will be the premier training ground to prepare medical students, residents and nurses for the next generation of care delivery,” Brad Schipper, Sanford Health's president of virtual care, said in a news release. “The innovation that takes place in this building will help us deliver on our promise to patients by leveraging the best of technology to provide high-quality, safe care with an emphasis on convenience and affordability.”

In addition to the Sanford Virtual Care Center in Sioux Falls, five pilot satellite clinics are planned for "where services are otherwise unavailable or diminishing," the health system said.

Sanford Health is "actively engaged" in conversations about the locations of those clinics, but the details aren't yet finalized, Schipper told Forum News Service.

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Jeremy Fugleberg is editor of The Vault, Forum Communications Co.'s home for Midwest history, mysteries, crime and culture. He is also a member of the company's Editorial Advisory Board.
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