Is there room for Sanford Health in Mitchell?

I wrote a story for Saturday’s paper in which officials from Avera Health and Sanford Health expressed conflicting views about the future health-care situation in Mitchell.

It’s Avera’s opinion that the city and region are best served by one, dominant health system. It’s Sanford’s opinion that increased choice would benefit the consumer.

What do you think?

20 thoughts on “Is there room for Sanford Health in Mitchell?

  1. I believe choice is always a good thing. I know many people, including myself that would love a choice in healthcare. I also know many people who travel to Sioux Falls for their healthcare needs, because of bad experiences with AQP. My husband and I both have had bad experiences in the ER at AQP and will think twice before using their services in the future. Plus another healthcare provider would mean more jobs and a boost to the local economy. It is a win-win situation!

  2. I hope that Sanford gets here quick! I am tired of the poor quality of care at QofP. I hope they bring an urgent care with them. The Sanford Peds doctors are wonderful!

  3. Competition is good. Have you ever noticed, McDonald and Burger King are usually in the same area of town?
    Keeps’em honest, and on their toes economically.

  4. We have already been down this road once before. Don’t you all remember the Methodist Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital? That merger took 2 weak hospitals and created one strong hospital that we have today.

    In general competition is good, but this is nothing like McDonalds vs Burger King. Healthcare requires huge investments in equipment. If you have two hospitals sharing the limited healthcare dollars for our region, neither hospital will be profitable enough to invest in the latest equipment and much of the available capital for investment would be used for a duplication in services.

  5. Many communities have more than one hospital. It is call cooperation. I concede that both hospitals can not do it all, but hospitals can specialize and Meth./St. Joe’s should have done that. It became a power struggle, and the Meth. lost. Basically, Avera is a Catholic Hospital. They do try to look non-denominational, but a hospital run by Nuns is a Catholic Hospital.
    (OK at yee who disagree………go at it.)

  6. It wasn’t until the two hospital combined that we started to receive additional services in mitchell, and doctors are staying longer,which means less recruitment. Why competition the Government basicly controll the pricing, and most likly much more. Think before lose advancement in health care. We got a good hospital: check out other city our size and see what they have. Yankton is the only one in SD that compares; you can check Minnesota also.

  7. Sanford does not have a history of cooperation with Avera. They have been quite competitive for two “non-profits”.

  8. QoP has never liked competition–even when it was St. Joseph’s. Competition is what keeps costs down. Our family does not use QoP and never would. Instead we go to Sioux Falls, and when we go there we shop there. I think it is great that Sanford is coming to Mitchell. When Mike Miller gave money to Sanford, Queen of Peace whined about that–that seems to be what they do best!

  9. Seth,

    Check page 12 of the paper the day you published your story on the two hospital possibility. It was a full page ad by the Daily Republic asking people to keep their business in Mitchell so Mitchell could continue to prosper.

    Two hospitals in Mitchell would be very similar to Mitchell having two local daily news papers. It would give people a choice and choice is always good, right. Or would we get two 5 page daily papers that had no local content because they could neither one afford to hire a sports reporter or local news reporter. If people really don’t like the Daily Republic they do have options, get the Argus or get their news online or through the radio or TV.

    With one strong hospital for the last 15 years the Mitchell medial community has continued to grow and many more specialties have developed in Mitchell. We could return to just one or two general purpose hospital and send everyone to SF for any special requirements. We could return to sending all of our cancer suffers to SF for their special care. We would of course also loss the tremendous economic effects that each of the medical specialist create in Mitchell to the benefit of SF. Don’t you think Sanford would love to pull those special treatment dollars from Mitchell to SF.

    Competition is good and in the open market usually the best approach. In health care we are a long ways from an open market with most prices decided by the federal government or large insurance companies. With all the pressure on health and care cost reductions the last thing we need is duplication of very expensive equipment. For clarification almost no cities the size of Mitchell have two hospitals.

    We had two hospitals in Mitchell with both of them controlled by local boards made up of predominately Mitchell citizens. The two boards were smart enough to see that Mitchell would be much better off with one strong hospital and developing many specialists. Matter of fact the federal government paid the hospital very significant dollars when they merged to encourage the merger back in the early 90s. The federal government knew Mitchell and the federal government would both be better off with one hospital in Mitchell. Do we want to move back to two general purpose hospitals, one controlled by Mitchell citizens and the other controlled by Sioux Falls?

  10. First off I don’t think Sanford is planning on building a hospital. They will probably open a clinic that offers the same as most other clinics in Mitchell. The Peds clinic would probably move with that. Q of P is scared because they are broke due to poor fiscal spendings on the surgical Drs and the Peds Drs.

  11. Charlie Hustle,

    Your right! Why would they build a hospital and do all the low profit work that comes with a full service hospital. My guess is if they do anything in Mitchell it would be to create clinic and try and move as much of the high profit business as possible from Mitchell to SF. After all “10% of the total personal income in the Sioux Falls area is generated by Sanford Health.” (From Sanford web page).

  12. Well, we need an urgent care clinic. QoP may be planning one, but that is down the road. Summer is here, and tourism demands something. Sanford could come in, and remove the need from QoP.

  13. I would agree that the right decision was made to consolidate the two hospitals. However, AQOP has squandered that trust. Mitchell is the 2nd most expensive place to get health care next to Aberdeen. Surprise. Women’s services are already sent to SF as the nuns will not allow them openly to be done due to their religious position even though they have been done for years with AQOP money and staff at the old methodist hospital or done under a different code for years. The administration has looked the other way as long as they were making the money even though they knew tubes were being tied and sterilizations were taking place. Point is, it would or should help the nuns not to have to wory about that conflict of interest if Sanford is able to come to town and allow the women of Mitchell to make their own choices regarding their reproductive options instead of having their Drs. comit insurance fraud and their administrators to compromise the religious foundation of AQOPs mission. What an oportunity to see health care costs go down, which is what would happen, and keep those dollars more local through employment. To many people are traveling to SF already. I am sure Sanford would allow the local Drs. priveledges and has always been willing to accept Avera Health insurance where Avera has always rejected this reasonable trade. Please, pull the wool away from your eyes and realize that prices are set by the market. Prices in Mitchell sky rocketed once consolidation happened and choice was limited.

  14. facts – you sure made a lot of wild claims in that post. Do you have any evidence to back up anything you just said? Links?

  15. Facts,

    You peaked my curiosity on the prices. The Sanford web site listed the price for a normal birth ($5,560) and newborn charge ($1,969) or a total of $7,529 based on median costs from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006. The Mitchell Queen of Pease web site listed the prices of $4,733 and $2,066 for a total of $6,799 based on costs from Jan 1, 2007 to Dec 31, 2007. This is a total difference of $730 using costs for Sanford that are 18 months older then QOP. If you assume a 5% per year or 7.5% for 18 months inflation rate for health care costs, the 2007 Sanford cost would be $8,094 (1.075 X $7,528) or $1,294 more expensive then QOP. I doubt if every procedure is this much more expensive at Sanford.

  16. The ironic thing about all the people doing all the ‘research’ on prices is rather amusing. Prices are not set by the hospitals. They are set by the insurance companies. Most health care clinics and hospitals set prices just higher than the highest payer and then accept what they can get. That is the way the game is played. Some things are listed higher at one and lower at the other Listed prices are manipulated to show a competitive advantage where they can. To compare maternity is ridiculous for 2 reasons: 1) a normal vaginal delivery is unpredictable, do you really think people would choose to go to SF in the winter to see their ob? 2) Sanford does not look at AQOP as competition. That was made clear at their presentation in Mitchell. Sanford is happy to allow AQOP to do what they feell is best for AQOP. If Sanford were to come to Mitchell it would be because they were asked, as they were in Aberdeen, and feel they can provide quality services without losing money 3) Sanford competes for maternity with McKennan; have you seen those hospitals maternity suittes–wow. I suspect they would have to cost more. Pluss, if you want to have your tubes tied after delivery, or a c-section, you can have the legal procedure done without a Dr. having to say it was medically necessary as has been done for years in Mitchell to avoid the rath of hospital policy. The reason I nor anyone else in their right mind will give you proof is because of the power of the hospital. By the way, what ever happened to Korrie W. He seems to have disapeared?

  17. How about pricing with nursing homes in town. Avera Brady is 20-30$/day more than Firesteel. Furthermore, Firesteel pays taxes while Brady is tax exempt. Have you checked out salaries. If you go to a government website, you can check out the salaries of the top payed employees of all non-prifits. Avera’s Porter in 2004 made about $600,000 per year in salaries with a 200,000 retirement package. By comparison, Krabenhoft made about half of that. Furthermore, each Avera facility has its own administrator making about $300,000/year in Aberdeen, Mitchell, Yankton etc. Seems running a non-profit is more profitable than practicing medicine.

  18. Why don’t we let the non-profits take care of those that don’t have or choose not to have insurance, provide basic health care services and truly be a government run program. That would allow all the people that play by the rules, have insurance that would pay for the true cost of health care without the burden of those that pay nothing into the system. Those that don’t play by the rules and expect free health care would have the time to wait all day in the non-profit facility to get the care they can afford. Those hospitals that are for profit could then offer the best care, invent new technologies, decrease wait times for the people that are bogging down the system and have a responsive system that is not under governmental non-funded mandates. Drs. would have the resources, the time, and hopefully the security to be free from frivolous law suits. The sheer quality of the new system would mean consequence for those that think they can beat the system and the number of people in that system would shrink. Seems to me, we are moving towards a VA system of care. Private business can not afford to have employees spending all day in the hospital waiting to see an overworked, underpayed Dr.

  19. facts: you first said Mitchell was 2nd most expensive and used that as a reason to support bringing Sanford here then when someone came up with actual facts disputing that claim you said prices don’t matter. Why?

    By the way, Sanford Health is a non-profit too.

    Why is it a negative that Avera has a local administrator in Mitchell? You would rather give control of our hospital to Sioux Falls?

    By the way, all of the latest price data as well as the percentage of those “retial” prices each facility actually collects from Medicare/Medicaid/Private Insurers is all listed here:

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