Sakakawea Medical Center made possible with co-op support


Sakakawea Medical Center

Dr. Mike Schmit and Carl Miller, Sakakawea Medical Center surgeon and certified registered nurse anesthetist, respectively, say the new medical center has much better flow, for both staff and patients. Patients are now stationed in the same room both pre- and post-operation. Before, patients would be placed in beds separated only by a curtain. Now, there are two operating rooms: some equipment was upgraded in the move, like the sterilization equipment, and some was brought over from the previous facility.

It began as a conversation about the future of health care.

“We took a look at our facility infrastructure and decided that maybe it’s time for us to do some renovation, addition to our current facility,” remembers Darrold Bertsch, CEO of Sakakawea Medical Center and Coal Country Community Health Center. “But as the process went forward, we decided it was much more cost-effective for us to look at constructing a new facility.”

Bertsch says a study was done in 2012 to determine the need for an updated, expanded medical center in the community. The needs assessment took input from nearly 650 community members and health care professionals from the region, as well as 22 community leaders. “The top priorities we found were the need for more providers, more mental health services, more accessible clinics with more locations and longer hours, better access to specialists, and additional equipment and technology,” Bertsch says.

More than 300 individual donors contributed to the $3 million capital campaign to get the project going. The total cost of the facility was about $30 million, and the facility opened its doors in April 2017.

The electric cooperatives of the area were major contributors. Read more about why in the May/June 2017 issue of Basin Today Magazine: Sakakawea Medical Center: A modern facility made possible with co-op support

Sakakawea Medical Center

Marcie Schulz, registered nurse and Sakakawea Medical Center director of patient care, demonstrates the telemedicine system found in the hospital’s emergency rooms. Staff is able to push a button to virtually invite staff from Sioux Falls, SD, into the room through a two-way camera and microphone. The system is a paid service through Avera, which has presence in 150 sites across the Midwest and beyond. Professionals in Sioux Falls are able to help with everything from recording vital signs for a busy nurse, to assisting with trauma care, to providing sign language translation.

Sakakawea Medical Center

Darrold Bertsch, CEO of Sakakawea Medical Center and Coal Country Community Health Center, and Myria Perry, secretary/treasurer of the Hazen Memorial Hospital Association board of directors and Dakota Gas process engineering technology advisor, stand in the lobby, which connects the new clinic and hospital.

Sakakawea Medical Center

The rehabilitation area serves physical and occupational therapy needs. This is the area sponsored specifically by Basin Electric and Dakota Gas.

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