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Benefis to Partner with Sanford Health for Emergency Services this Fall

Sanford to provide physician staffing and ED telehealth program

BenefisHealthSystemlogo_300X200(Great Falls, MT) - Benefis Health System has announced it will transition physician staffing of its Emergency Department to Sanford Health this fall. This is the first initiative as a result of the strategic alliance announced late last year between Benefis and Sanford Health.

“Sanford Health is headquartered in the Dakotas, and its leadership understands the unique needs of rural communities and an emergency department serving a vast region like north central Montana,” said Benefis Hospitals President Laura Goldhahn. “One of Sanford’s most exciting offerings is its state-of-the-art telehealth program, which will provide physician or other consultative support to regional emergency departments (EDs).”

Rural hospitals across the region struggle to provide their ED with around-the-clock physician staffing, Goldhahn said.

“Sanford’s telehealth system will allow rural emergency departments to videoconference with an emergency medicine physician any time of day or night, almost as if he or she is right there in the exam room,” Goldhahn said. “This is one of the greatest needs of north central Montana’s rural hospitals, and is the first of many ways our affiliation with Sanford Health will enhance healthcare in our community.”

Benefis’ emergency department is currently staffed by the Louisiana-based Schumacher Group, which has served Benefis for almost a year and a half.

“Schumacher has retained and recruited good providers and re-established basic phone support for regional hospital EDs, which is critical to Benefis and patients across our region,” said Goldhahn.

The Schumacher Group has agreed to work cooperatively through the transition, and Benefis and Sanford hope to retain Schumacher-contracted physicians who would like to stay in Great Falls.

“We will be working closely in the coming months with Schumacher and Sanford Health to make this transition seamless for our patients and employees,” Goldhahn said.

“Our physicians and staff look forward to providing quality care to the people in the Great Falls area and north central Montana who need emergency services,” said Dan Blue, MD, President of Sanford Clinic. “Our physician-led culture and our mission of health and healing mean we are committed to each and every person we serve.”

Benefis and Sanford announced the new strategic alliance late last year, with a focus on physician recruitment and services, clinical initiatives, information technology, quality programs, research and health care cost reduction.  The strategic alliance does not impact the governance or financial structure of either organization.

“We will keep the community well-informed throughout this transition,” said Goldhahn. “We understand that our Emergency Department is one of the most critical services Benefis provides our community, and we’re excited about the future of emergency care in Great Falls and across our region.”

About Sanford Health
Sanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in the Dakotas and is now the largest, rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation with locations in 126 communities in nine states. In addition, Sanford Health is in the process of developing international clinics in Ghana, Israel, Mexico and China.

Sanford Health includes 39 hospitals, 140 clinic locations and 1,360 physicians in 81 specialty areas of medicine. With more than 26,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in North and South Dakota. The system is experiencing dynamic growth and development in conjunction with nearly a billion dollars in gifts from philanthropist Denny Sanford. These gifts are making possible the implementation of several initiatives including global children's clinics, multiple research centers and finding cures for type 1 diabetes and breast cancer. For more information, please visit

Stacy Jones
Director, Sanford Media Relations – Sioux Falls Region
24/7 Media Phone (605) 366-2432

Karen Ogden
Chief Communications Officer – Benefis Health System
Office: 455-5463 / Cell: 750-6396