SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sanford Health broke ground on a 60,000 square foot Virtual Care Center Tuesday, part of its $350 million virtual care initiative that began last year thanks to T. Denny Sanford.

“Your landmark gift of $350 million is going to allow this organization to make good on our commitment to deliver world class care to everyone; to make sure that a person’s zip code does not limit the level of care that they receive,” Sanford CEO Bill Gassen said. 

The growth of virtual care at Sanford was accelerated during the pandemic.

“Covid really started with the expansion of virtual care and really trying to improve access and making sure our teams and our patients were able to meet patients where they’re at,” Sanford Health Chief Nursing Officer Erica DeBoer said. 

Now the building going up on the northwest corner of Sioux Falls won’t just affect people in the city, it will improve healthcare access for patients across all of the Sanford footprint.

“When we think about the ability we have to serve those patients that come from all over the state, we can save that patient an exuberant amount of miles when they can see that patient through a video visit or even through telephone visit,” DeBoer said. 

It’s already happening with many Sanford specialists and care providers.

“We’ve already saved over 20 million miles of travel for our patients,” Sanford Health President of Virtual Care Brad Schipper said.

This new virtual care facility will help grow their virtual care abilities even more.

“We believe we’re re imagining health care, for our rural communities and our underserved communities. Rather than just being an add-on to how we provide care, this will be really integrated into how we deliver care,” Schipper said. 

The virtual care center will be complete in 2024, with a focus on teaching and innovation.

“How do we assess and keep our health care providers prepared to manage in that space. Innovation, how do we test some of the sciences and technology to help take care of the patients in this space,” DeBoer said.
Those innovations will all come together in one facility with not only space for teaching and innovation, but also home to on demand urgent care, behavioral health and primary care for all Sanford patients.