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Sanford celebrates presence in Worthington

WORTHINGTON -- Sanford Health Network made its presence known Tuesday, the first day of operation for Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington. First, there was the unveiling of new signage proclaiming the new name at the hospital, and later in the day an event to "honor the past and celebrate the future" at Pioneer Village.

During a short program that preceded a free meal and other activities at Pioneer Village, Ed Weiland, president of Sanford Health Network, proclaimed it "a historic day in Worthington," making it especially appropriate to have the festivities in the setting that preserves the past.

"A little while ago, I walked into the old hospital setting, and I have to say, it was scary," Weiland said, referring to the historic doctor's office building. "I assure you that's all in the past."

Also present was Sanford Health Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Becky Nelson.

"Welcome to the first day of the rest of our lives together," she addressed the crowd assembled in the village barn.

Nelson assured the crowd Sanford is "seriously committed to bringing more services here. ... There will be less and less you'll have to leave your community to receive in health care," and commended the local hospital staff as "the finest people I know in health care."

"Now, we're looking toward the future with the utmost excitement because there is so much potential in this city," Nelson concluded.

Weiland introduced Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington's new chief executive officer, Lynn Olson, who spoke of what impressed him about Worthington and its hospital.

"The first thing that struck me was the warmth with which my family was received," Olson said. "Second, I saw the opportunity in terms of the hospital, really the best of both worlds, with the strong community support and the leadership from the past that will continue to work into the future. But you also have the resources of Sanford ... which will help ensure success going forward."

Speaking on behalf of the Worthington Regional Hospital Board of Trustees, which will now become Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington's advisory board, chairman David Jueneman spoke about the board's criteria for pursuing a sale with a larger health care entity.

"I'm here to tell you, those criteria are being met, and we will hold them accountable in the future," he stated. "I believe we will see a long-term benefit that will be next to none."

Worthington City Councilman Ron Wood also spoke about his belief that the sale of the hospital to Sanford would benefit the community in terms of health care services and future economic benefits.

"Worthington will move to being the strong health care (center) of our region and the strong economic focus of the region," he predicted. "This is an important day today."

Beth Rickers
Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at http://lagniappe.areavoices.com/.  
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