Hospital and health officials in Sioux Falls have always wanted to compete with the big names in their industry. They will now in pediatric medicine.
The newly named Sanford Heath network is building a new children's hospital in Sioux Falls and forming a partnership with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The two health systems will collaborate on research studies and medical training.
The need for pediatric services in the region has grown in the past 30 years, according to Jan Haugen-Rogers, vice president for children's services. She says it's time to bring pediatric specialists together.
"We're at the point now, as those services have grown, that we'll be able to put those services all in one facility. So the children's hospital is about consolidation of what we do today as well as providing space for growth and really diversifying our services," says Haugen-Rogers.
Construction has already begun on the new Sanford Children's Hospital. It will look like a castle; pointed towers and colorful flags are part of a design to welcome kids for what is often a scary experience. Haugen-Rogers says the building will more than double the system's capacity for pediatric patients.
The children's hospital was funded in part several years ago by philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. But a recent $400 million gift from Sanford allows future plans to become reality sooner.
Sanford Health will build a network of pediatric clinics across the country. The plan is to build five clinics over the next ten years, and a website seeking requests for proposals has already received 1,000 hits.
Some of the responses have come from communities in California, Florida and New York, says Dave Link, executive vice president of Sanford Health. He gets to decide where the first clinic is built. Link envisions clinics in Canada and Mexico and says pediatric care is an under-served specialty across the country.
"They just aren't training enough pediatric sub-specialists. So to the extent we can assist with that through out-reach services from here, through collaborations with other health care organizations within a particular region or through recruitment we'll look to do that where it is appropriate," says Link.
The Sanford Children's Hospital is set to open in the spring of 2009, about the same time as the first pediatric clinic.