Sanford Health opens clinic in Ponca, Nebraska


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sanford Health has expanded into yet another state.

Sanford Health is opening its first clinic in Nebraska this week, in the town of Ponca. The clinic is needed now more than ever, after the town’s only clinic shut its doors unexpectedly last August.

“Devastating. Myself and all the staff… it took us by surprise. We weren’t… we had no inclination that this was going to happen,” Dr. Jeff Knerl said.

Dr. Jeff Knerl has been a physician in Ponca for 35 years. He retired last year, but came out of retirement in order to help get the new clinic off the ground.

“Ponca is my hometown and my wife’s home town. So we have a commitment to our community and the surrounding area to have the continuation of a clinic be there,” Knerl said.

“Having access locally is really in my, in my mind is an essential service,” Tim Tracy said.

Tim Tracy is the senior director at the Sanford Vermillion Medical Center. Before opening the new clinic, he says the closest clinic for Ponca residents was in Vermillion, which is nearly a half hour drive.

“We’ve got a number of patients that we’ve had in Vermilion from that area for quite a number of years. And it’s just a really good fit for Sanford Vermillion to, to reach out,” Tracy said.

The clinic is welcoming back providers who were employed at the previous clinic and will offer access to about 18 specialties.

“I acutely recognize the needs for patients to have local access. Whether they’re young families that are lucky not to have to travel and take time off work and, those kinds of things to make sure that they have access to health care,” Tracy said.

The Sanford Ponca clinic opened full-time on Monday and is looking forward to helping in the community.

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