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Additional doctors have given boost to SWMC

Editor's note: This is the second in a five-part series examining multiple changes and improvements at Sanford Worthington Medical Center since its purchase by Sanford Health five years ago.

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WORTHINGTON — The doctor is in.

In the five years since Sanford Health purchased the healthcare facility now known as Sanford Worthington Medical Center, many new doctors have been added to serve a variety of patient needs.

"The ongoing addition of physicians is part of the commitment Sanford made to the community at the time of the hospital purchase," SWMC CEO Mike Hammer said.

"When Sanford bought the hospital from the city, there were certain conditions from the city and agreements from Sanford that they would do certain programming enhancements in the community," Hammer explained. "We have new surgeons, and that's been expanded. Obstetrics was historically family doctors from Sanford, so there was a commitment to start up a Sanford obstetrics program and a gynecology program. We've added two OB/GYNs and one midwife. Likewise, the family doctors provided pediatric care and we have within recent years recruited two pediatricians for Sanford to elevate the pediatric program.

"We had previously been maintaining a strong primary care program with the family practice physicians," Hammer continued. "With the addition of various speclialists, we've begun outreach to other communities. Most recently, the recruitment of an oncologist allows us to continue the development toward a hub location for Sanford."

Since Worthington Regional Hospital became SWMC, Sanford also acquired the practice of Dr. J. Michael Donohue. Additionally, a program is being developed in which the hospital will employ ER physicians rather than contract for them; Dr. Martin Fedko joined this past July as SWMC's first employed ER physician.

Sanford Worthington Clinic Director Greg Shell listed Dr. Charles Dike, Dr. Bharat Patel, Dr. Kevin Ree and Dr. Sanket Kunde as physicians in primary care services. There are two family medicine nurse practitioners — Erika Freking and Stacey Jumbek — as well as two pediatricians, Dr. Judit Chavarria and Dr. Satshedi Makwinja.

With regard to specialties, there are Dr. Donohue in orthopedics and an orthopedic nurse practitioner, Andrea Boeve; Dr. Rea Sebata (OB/GYN); Sandy Krier (Certified Nurse Midwife); Dr. Gaddum Reddy and Dr. Fernando Escobar (General Surgery); Dr. Liangping Weng (Hematologist and Medical Oncology); Dr. H. Jae Yoon (Radiation Oncology); and Robin Uithoven (Certified Nurse Practitioner in Oncology). These healthcare professionals are also involved in the outreach programs SWMC provides to other regional communities.

"The outreaches that we have from Worthington to the local communities include oncology, orthopedics, general surgery and OB — historically we've done OB, and we expect to continue that," Shell said. "Locations we go to include Rock Rapids, Sibley and Sheldon, Iowa, as well as Jackson, Slayton, Tracy and Windom."

There are also plenty of Sanford physicians now coming to Worthington from Sioux Falls to offer services at SWMC and Sanford Worthington Clinic. These include Dr. Tom Stys (Cardiology); Dr. Mohammad Qamar (Nephrology); Dr. Geoffrey Tufty (Pediatric Ophthalmology); Dr. Theresa Stamato (Pediatric Oncology); Dr. Susan Assam (Physiatry); Dr. John Yu (Pulmonology); and Dr. Chad Laurich (Vascular). There are also independent providers including Dr. Dustin Dierks and Dr. Gregory Osmundson (Ophthamology), Dr. Scott Hoffman (Podiatry), Dr. David Rosinsky (Urology), Dr. Craig Hedges, (Ear, Nose and Throat) and Dr. R. Maclean Smith (Allergy/Asthma) that provide outreach services to Sanford Worthington.

"One of the benefits of being part of Sanford is system integration and collaboration," Hammer said. "We're supported by other physicians in the system and with these outreaches we are getting physicians as close to people as possible. That's a very big commitment by Sanford and other physician groups."

Dr. Donohue, the orthopedic surgeon, is also benefiting from his new affiliation with Sanford, Shell added.

"He (Donohue) previously had a private practice in Spirit Lake (Iowa)," Shell explained. "Just over two years ago, he made the decision to affiliate with Sanford. The basis for that was that he was already providing service to a market that Sanford has a significant presence in, and it just made sense to align his practice to those locations that Sanford is in already. He has been very pleased with that transition.

"He also recognized the resources that Sanford has in terms of compliance issues, all the regulatory issues and the whole information technology element," Shell continued. "The other reality for Dr. Donohue was in terms of recruitment — trying to recruit to a small private practice was a challenge. Sanford provides an opportunity to successfully recruit additional partners."

Shell noted that a search is under way for an additional orthopedic surgeon to come to Worthington.

"As we reflect on what has been done now, looking forward, recruitment is always an ongoing effort in any medical community and in any healthcare system," Hammer said. "We're aiming to add to our primary care base —add to orthopedics, and the emergency department and OB.

"The message here is Sanford has invested significantly in the community, mostly with additions to physicians and specialties within the community. "As our system leadership states when they become affiliated with a local hospital, 'Promises made, promises delivered.' I think that has been demonstrated here in Worthington."

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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