Our Community

History and Overview - Sanford Health

Sanford Health is a voluntary, not-for-profit health care organization.  Through its entities, Sanford Health and WoodsEdge, its subsidiary, North Country Housing and other affiliates, the corporation currently provides acute care, long-term and rehabilitative care, congregate housing, home health care and hospice, medical equipment sales and rentals, and medical services.
The total number of full and part time corporate employees exceeds 950, and the total payroll for 2008 was approximately $58 million.
Following is information about the affiliations, divisions, subsidiaries and other holdings of Sanford Health:
Voluntary Hospitals of America (VHA)
Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA)
Sanford Health
Sanford Health opened at its current location on October 29, 1979.  The hospital was previously located at Ninth and Dewey and dates historically under various ownerships and controlling bodies back to 1898. 
Sanford Health serves a large geographic area in North Central Minnesota.  Three quarters of the hospital’s patients reside in Beltrami County, the hospital’s primary service area.  An additional ten percent reside in northern Cass County, Hubbard, Clearwater, Itasca, Koochiching, and Polk counties.  The population of the primary and secondary service area approaches 100,000.
The hospital is a 118-bed general acute care facility with an adjacent service building.  A new Senior Behavioral Health Unit opened at the former Sanford Health Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in September 2004.   The former site is now called Lakeside Campus.
The state of Minnesota leases several thousand square feet of the Lakeside Campus for its Community Behavioral Health Hospital.
Medical Staff
The hospital’s active medical staff includes over 60 members.  Specialties include anesthesia, dermatology, emergency medicine, family practice, ENT, internal medicine, pediatrics, general surgery, neurology, obstetrics/gynecology, ophthalmology, urology, pathology, radiology, orthopedics, psychiatry, and vascular surgery.
WoodsEdge Senior Living Campus
WoodsEdge Senior Living Campus is located at 1000 Anne Street NW, and include Trillium, a memory care facility, Neilson Place, a nursing home and short-term rehabilitation facility, and WindSong, catered living apartments for older adults.
Neilson Place, previously Sanford Health Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, relocated from 800 Bemidji Avenue and has been in business since 1964 as a nursing home.  The original building, a three-story brick structure, was obtained from Hill-Burton funds, a bond issue, and internal funds.  In 1978, the fifteen-year mortgage on the center was paid in full.  With the closing of the old hospital in 1979, the nursing center became a free-standing unit.
Renovations and expansions of the nursing center were completed in 1983 and 1994.  Through interior remodeling and expansion into a section of the old hospital, the number of beds was increased from 60 to 78.
Neilson Place, opened in August of 2004, provides skilled nursing care and rehabilitation services.  Emphasis is placed on rehabilitation, making Neilson Place unique among nursing homes in this area.  Services provided include physical therapy, occupational therapy, social services, and speech therapy.  Staff numbers approximately 160. Trillium and WindSong opened in 2009 and are connected with Neilson Place in the center. Trillium, a 27-apartment secure facility, provides 24-hour care for individuals affected with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other memory concerns.  WindSong has three stories and 80 apartments. Tenants at WindSong are able to live independently, but help is only a push of a button away if needed. As needs increase, assistance can be added to accommodate any level of care.
After the hospital’s 45 years at its downtown Bemidji location, the hospital board of trustees decided to build a new hospital in 1976.  North of town, a 150-acre parcel of land was purchased.  Approximately 40 acres of the northeast section were reserved for hospital construction and the other for potential healthcare-related facilities.
The Bemidji Clinic, Ltd. purchased 6 acres on the property for construction of a $2 million doctors' clinic.  The new clinic opened in December 1979 adjacent to the hospital.  The clinic, now called Sanford Health Clinic, is a separate corporation affiliated with Sanford Health System of South Dakota.
In June 1977, a charitable organization, the Sanford Health Services Foundation, was established to administer the sale and development of the remaining approximately 110 acres surrounding the hospital and to encourage donations to the corporation.
The foundation was reinvigorated in 1991.  Its purpose was to seek gifts and donations from the community to help support the programs and services of the corporation.  A 22-member foundation board was appointed with representatives from the community, medical staff, and Sanford Health personnel.  Various fund-raising committees were established, and an active development program was initiated.  Over the years, the foundation has supported a number of projects such as the start of a kidney dialysis unit, a pediatric care area, nursing center projects, a cardiac rehabilitation project, and North Country Hospice.  In 1998, donations to the foundation reached $1 million. 
In keeping with the mission of Sanford Health to improve the health status of the community and region, in 1997 the Sanford Health Board of Trustees established a $1 million Community Health Endowment fund to be administered through the foundation.  Grants are made periodically from the fund’s interest to assist local non-profit agencies addressing significant regional health and wellness issues. 
In 2000, the foundation was restructured in order to better connect to the community.  Approximately 100 community members now serve on the foundation’s eight committees. 
In 2001, the foundation kicked off its largest fundraising project ever, to raise $5 million to support hospital expansion and construction of a new nursing home, now called Neilson Place. The $5 million goal was reached in January 2006. 
Since then, a number of other projects have been made possible through philanthropic gifts to the foundation such as a new endovascular suite at the hospital, a special nursery bed for premature babies, cardiac rehab equipment, and a completed Excellence in Healthcare project including a package of items to enhance patient care, services and facilities.  In addition, a new employee scholarship was established, the Mimi Diffley Memorial Scholarship Fund.  All efforts have helped to bring the total giving to the foundation to nearly $7.5 million.
Today, the foundation continues to support the latest in technology, critical services, and modern facilities to provide outstanding healthcare for our community and region thanks to caring staff and community contributions.
Baker Park, Inc.
After much discussion and a series of public meetings in 1981, the Board decided to convert the old hospital building into congregate housing for the elderly.
Hospital funds in the amount of $50 thousand were committed to this project, and a $1.7 million loan from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) financed the project.
The three-story facility contains 49 apartments designed for elderly and handicapped persons.  A variety of services is offered including a beauty/barber shop and congregate meals offered at an economical rate.
The housing project was opened for occupancy in September 1982, with the name taken from the park in front of the building.
Baker Park
Baker Park is approximately one acre on the lake side of Baker Park Housing.  This park was purchased from the city of Bemidji in 1970.

Bemidji Medical Equipment (BME)

Bemidji Medical Equipment is a proprietary (for-profit) corporation established to accommodate the corporation’s durable medical equipment business.  The corporation was started in 1989 in a building adjacent to the hospital.
Sanford Health Medical Clinic (Northern Medical Clinic)
In the early 1990s, the corporation took a different step in providing health care to the community.  The corporation has owned and operated Sanford Health Medical Clinic-Bemidji located in downtown Bemidji, a two-physician and two-nurse practitioner medical practice.  Because of an inability to recruit new physicians, the clinic closed in December 2007.