Bemidji Nursing Excellence

A Champion for Nurses

The current Collective Bargaining Agreement between Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota in Bemidji, MN and Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) expires February 28, 2023. This website is designed to provide our nurses with accurate and timely information during the negotiation process.

Sanford Bemidji is committed to negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with MNA that recognizes the significant contributions of our nurses while keeping health care affordable for those we serve.

Together we are working to make Sanford Bemidji the best place to work and to receive care.

What We're Doing for Nurses

News and Updates

Competitive Wages and Benefits

Sanford Health has a long history of serving as an advocate for nurses. We are proud to recognize the important contributions of our nurses by offering competitive wages and benefits.

  • The average hourly base rate for RNs at Sanford Bemidji is on average 1.63% higher than the average hourly base rate of RNs across the North Central Region of the United States. (Source: 3rd party 2021 RN market salary surveys)
  • Additional premiums and incentives that stack on top of this base rate are offered for nights, weekends, holidays and on-call shifts.
  • In 2021, Sanford Bemidji invested over $2.0 million in critical needs bonuses for MNA-represented RNs working in certain areas of the hospital with high turnover and vacancy rates.
  • Sanford Bemidji was a leader among other hospitals in doing this to try and stymie the nursing staffing crisis that is facing the country by rewarding our trusted and valued Bemidji nurses to keep them working close to home.
  • MNA union dues – dues required to be part of MNA - are deducted from paychecks once per month. It costs Sanford Bemidji nurses an average of .53 per hour for MNA union dues. For a full-time nurse working 32 hours per week, union membership costs ~$890 per year. Stated otherwise, MNA union dues cost an estimated $35,000 over the course of a nurse’s 40-year career.


Flexible Scheduling

With a growing variety of needs within the organization, Sanford Health offers more flexible scheduling options than ever. We collaborate with our nurses to develop family-friendly schedules that allow you to thrive in both your professional and personal life.

  • Ninety percent of Sanford Bemidji nurses have chosen to be scheduled less than 40 hours per week. The average nurse at Sanford Bemidji is scheduled an average of 32 hours per week.
  • Discussions with our nurses indicate that choice is based upon personal preference. Spending time with family and friends and having a stable income that affords them the standard of living they desire are the primary reasons our nurses do not feel they need a traditional 40 hour schedule.


Sanford Health embraces innovative solutions to address workforce challenges and alleviate administrative burdens so our nurses can focus on what you are passionate about — caring for our patients and residents.

  • We continue to aggressively recruit and hire nurses to not only fill open positions but also to address the national nursing shortage due to projected health care needs of an aging population.
  • In the past twelve months, Sanford Bemidji has hired 341 RNs, LPNs, nursing leads and patient support services staff including certified medical assistants, nursing assistants and nursing technicians. Of the total amount hired, 137 have been in the registered nurse job family.
  • Sanford Bemidji has established strong partnerships with Bemidji State University (BSU) and Northwest Technical College (NTC). In 2019, Sanford Bemidji committed $1 million for health care development programs with Bemidji High School, BSU and NTC. Read more about our partnerships here:
  • Sanford Bemidji is partnering with campus placement offices at BSU, NTC and Northland Community and Technical College to provide students with regular exposure to Sanford Health career opportunities.
  • Additional recruiting efforts include but are not limited to:
    • Career Fairs.
    • Expanded social media engagement including LinkedIn and Facebook.
    • Generating leads by resume mining on Indeed and SeekOut.
    • Increased presence on free job boards including Handshake, College Central, Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce, MinnesotaWorks.Net and Featured Jobs.
  • Sanford Health is exploring alternative talent pipelines by recruiting nurses from around the world to meet our staffing needs, now and into the future. Sanford Bemidji expects to onboard its first internationally trained nurse in the second quarter of 2023.
  • If there is ever a concern about staffing, our nursing supervisors immediately respond to understand and address the issue. Additionally, Sanford Bemidji and MNA have a two-hour meeting each month to review any staffing concerns and continually work to improve schedules for nurses.

Professional Growth and Development

Sanford Health’s nurses are central to our mission of delivering compassionate and excellent patient care to anyone who needs it.

We believe in investing in educational and leadership programs that develop RNs for future leadership roles and always strive to promote from within. As a nurse at Sanford Bemidji, you are supported by people who value your professional growth and development.

Nurse Internship Program
The Sanford Student Nurse Internship Program is a hands-on, 10-week, paid internship that will expand clinical skills and knowledge under the guidance of an experienced nurse preceptor. Associated Degree in Nursing students within 1-2 semesters of graduation may be considered for placement in our network at Critical Access Hospitals.

Nurse Residency Program
The Sanford Health Nurse Residency Program (NRP) is accredited with distinction as a Practice Transition Program by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation in Practice Transition Programs. All new RN graduates that are hired into a facility with the program are enrolled in this innovative program.

The program provides nurse residents with strategies for personal growth and well-being while also developing clinical judgment and leadership skills. The 12-month program is offered in association with the Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program.

Continuing Education
We offer a variety of in-person and virtual continuing education credits and educational offerings that cover many specialties. Many of these offerings are free of charge or at reduced costs for employees.

CNA, LPN and RN sponsorships, annual scholarships and an employee assistance program are available to assist current and future nursing staff with furthering their education. Learn more about scholarships.

Specialty Certifications
Sanford Health is committed to assisting our nurses with achieving their national certification by providing preparation courses, as well as assisting with costs associated for the initial certification and recertification. There are over 350 national certifications that employees can access internally, and we encourage all our nurses to get certified.

Leadership Opportunities
Sanford Bemidji is continually looking for nurses to work in key leadership roles. Leadership training, mentoring, coaching and precepting opportunities are provided at all levels.

Bemidji nurses in leadership roles include:

  • Renee Axtman, vice president of nursing and clinical services
  • Claire Frenzel, technology services business partner
  • Rebekah Fineday, Native American Community Advocate
  • Lisa Noreen, inpatient nursing manager
  • Shawna Ogundeji, Bemidji emergency room nursing manager
  • Tiffany Schouten, ambulatory nursing manager
  • Heather Tverstol, quality team improvement advisor
  • Ashley Wavrin, nurse practitioner, internal medicine and kidney dialysis
  • Michelle Lindom, manager, RN clinical education

Sanford World Clinic Global Nurse Mentor Program
The Sanford World Clinic Global Nurse Mentor Program is an opportunity to impact care across the globe by participating in a shared learning experience with one of Sanford’s international partners. Recently, six Sanford nurses traveled overseas for global mentorship.

Grow, Succeed, Advance
There are many other areas of growth which our nurses can use to prepare themselves for career advancement while remaining in their role within their department.

There are a variety of councils, teams, and committees for involvement. Many of these are made up of staff who share a common interest in solving the concerns, or challenges associated with a variety of health care related topics. Memberships in local councils gives our nurses an opportunity to work with a variety of staff from different disciplines in the region, all of whom share a passion for a specific goal to improve care.

Focusing on Patient Care

Sanford Health is dedicated to the work of health and healing, and we continually work to transform the health care experience and provide access to world-class health care close to home.

  • Since merging in 2011, Sanford Health has invested more than $100 million to increase access to specialty care in the Bemidji area, including behavioral health, cardiology, orthopedics, pulmonology and oncology. As a result, Sanford Bemidji Medical Center has become the region’s largest hospital, housing 118 licensed beds and serving more than 176,000 people in Beltrami, Lake of the Woods, Koochiching, Itasca, Cass, Hubbard and Clearwater counties.In rural communities, quality of care is just as important as access to services. Sanford Bemidji Medical Center has maintained accreditation by The Joint Commission since 2017. In 2021, Sanford Bemidji and EMS partners were recognized by the Minnesota Department of Health for improving the quality of stroke care for the region. In the same year, the hospital earned its first 4-star CMS rating.
  • With most community members living two or more hours from major trauma centers, Sanford established its AirMed program, including an airbase at the Bemidji airport. The program provides lifesaving transportation for patients throughout northern Minnesota in need of an elevated level of care. In 2020, the Bemidji Medical Center was designated a Level 3 trauma center for the first time by the Minnesota Department of Health.
  • As one of the region’s leading OB/GYN care providers, Sanford Bemidji Medical Center opened its special care nursery in 2017 and c-section suite within the hospital’s OB/GYN inpatient unit in 2019.
    In an effort to reduce substance use during pregnancy and keep families together, Sanford partnered with Beltrami County and Red Lake Family and Children’s Services to create the First Steps to Healthy Families Program. Sanford is a part of the national Reach Out and Read program to promote literacy among children aged six months to five years by giving them books at each clinic visit. The Children’s Clinic also offers items for low-income families in need through its onsite food and essentials bank.
  • The Sanford Bemidji Heart and Vascular Center features a cardiology clinic, CHF clinic and multiple cardiac cath labs with prep and recovery areas. The center provides a broad spectrum of minimally invasive treatments. Since 2020, the cardiovascular team has earned annual performance recognition from the American College of Cardiology’s NCDR Chest Pain – MI Registry.
  • A merger with Upper Mississippi Mental Health Center in 2017 resulted in Sanford Bemidji becoming the largest provider of behavioral health services in the region.
  • Sanford Bemidji also offers the region’s only residential support center, in partnership with Beltrami County and PrimeWest Health Services, to provide intensive residential treatment services. In 2022, Sanford opened the Sanford Bemidji Crisis Center – the only facility within 90 miles of Bemidji to offer an eight-bed inpatient psychiatry unit and innovative Emergency Psychiatric Assessment and Treatment Healing (EmPATH) unit. EmPATH provides 24/7 mobile crisis services for children, families and adults in northern Minnesota.
  • In 2018, Sanford opened the Joe Lueken Cancer Center – the region’s largest cancer facility. Offering comprehensive care in one location, the center provides medical oncology and hematology treatment, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, infusion pharmacy, research and clinical trials, nutrition, navigation with ongoing support, financial counseling, genetic counseling and survivorship.
  • Sanford Health continues to invest in technology and programs that reduce the amount of time nurses spend on non-clinical tasks. Streamlining our operations enables our nurses to spend more time providing world-class care to our patients. For example, NRC Care Transitions calls patients post-discharge so our care management teams can focus on those who most need their help.
  • Sanford’s investment in virtual care delivery is one way we are supporting innovation in how and where people can receive care. Read more about the impact we are having
  • As part of our annual quality improvement symposium, Sanford Bemidji nurses can submit projects and ideas they are working on to improve the quality and safety of our patients and staff. Projects have ranged from sepsis to reducing delay in referral to treatment to becoming a level 3 trauma designated hospital. These ideas are shared with staff in a collaborative effort to recognize our staff and to inspire collaboration and improvement among different disciplines.

Bemidji heart team ranks among top in the nation
Sanford Health in Bemidji received the American College of Cardiology’s NCDR Chest Pain - MI Registry Gold Performance Achievement Award for 2022. Sanford Bemidji Medical Center in Bemidji is one of only 81 hospitals nationwide to receive the honor.

Sanford Bemidji named one of top 448 hospitals in the country for patient safety
Healthgrades recently released its annual Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients list for 2022. The Patient Safety Excellence award recognizes hospitals in the top 10% in the nation for patient safety with the lowest occurrence of 14 preventable safety events. Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota received this award, one of only eight hospitals in Minnesota.

Why Sanford Bemidji is a Great Place to Work

With a commitment to diversity and inclusion, our journey as an organization includes continually building on the diverse talents, experiences and beliefs of our employees, as well as the patients, residents and communities we serve.

Sanford Health fosters a culture where our employees are contributing their best and whole selves at work. It means that every single employee at Sanford Health is empowered to speak up to ensure reliably safe and high-quality care.

Your well-being matters. That’s why Sanford Bemidji offers our employees and their families access to a variety of resources for extra support whenever it is needed. Taking time to focus on the six dimensions of well-being (physical, emotional, spiritual, professional, financial, social) allows you and your family to thrive in all areas of life.

In partnership with VITAL WorkLife, Sanford's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides access to free counseling, coaching and support services available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Nurses and family members can access these services at your convenience including in-the-moment support, phone consultations, face-to-face counseling, nurse peer coaching, educator peer coaching, legal and financial services and identity theft prevention and support.

Workplace Violence Prevention
Along with the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA), Sanford Health believes our hospitals and clinics should be places of safety and healing for caregivers, patients and visitors. Sanford Bemidji continually collaborates with nurses on preventative measures to reduce the potential for workplace violence. Focus areas include environmental controls, patient and visitor screening processes, elevating requirements for security officers and staff training. For example, all staff has been trained in Management of Aggressive Behavior (MOAB) since 2017.

The rate of reported workplace violence incidents in Bemidji is consistently lower than other markets across Sanford’s footprint and was reduced by nearly 10% in 2021 (actual reported incidents in 2021 compared to actual reported incidents in 2020).

Military and Veterans Services
Sanford Health has the utmost respect for our military members and we provide them with exceptional care and employment opportunities they deserve. View a full list of benefits and featured career opportunities for veterans and military service members.

Sanford Health has been recognized for its commitment to veterans and active military employees. The health care system landed in the top 10 on the 2023 Military Friendly® Employer list and 2023 Military Spouse Friendly Employer list. In November, Sanford Health was recognized at no. 4 on the Best for Vets: Employers List by Military Times. This is the fourth year in a row Sanford Health has been recognized as a Military Friendly® Employer and the first year being featured on the Military Friendly® Spouse Employer list.

AMA employee well-being recognition
The American Medical Association honored Sanford Health as a recipient of the 2021 Joy in Medicine, one of 44 health systems recognized for their commitment to health care team well-being and programs to combat work-related stress and burnout for clinicians.


“Though our footprint is large, we still have a constant community feel. Everyone knows everyone. We are taking care of our family, friends and community members every day. We have an incredible culture of nursing. It’s about innovation. It’s about discovery. It’s about allowing that voice of nursing to be at the forefront. Our shared governance structure stretches across our entire Sanford nursing community, including the Good Samaritan Society as well as in our ambulatory and acute care settings where our front-line teams’ brilliance can be shared to help us solve the challenges we are navigating.” – Erica DeBoer, chief nursing officer, Sanford Health

Investing in our Community

Making our communities stronger and healthier is at the core of everything we do at Sanford Health. As the nation’s premier rural health system, we’re committed to delivering world-class health care no matter where you live. Our care extends beyond our medical centers and clinics. We’re active in the communities we serve and invest substantial resources to drive more opportunities and better health for all.

  • In March 2022, Sanford Health celebrated its 10-year anniversary of its merger with North Country Health Services and continues to serve as an anchor institution for the community. Sanford has invested over $100 million into the Bemidji region since the merger, and more than doubled its number of employees from 900 to over 2,100. Since 2012, this growth has included a 35% increase in the number of nurses employed in Sanford’s Bemidji region.
  • Today, Sanford Bemidji Medical Center is a 118-licensed bed regional medical center and has been a vital part of the Bemidji community since 1898. It is the largest hospital in the region, serving 176,000 people. It serves as a regional hub for AirMed air ambulance services and offers a Level 3 trauma center and fully staffed emergency room.
  • Sanford Health is currently partnering with Greater Bemidji to construct a wellness center in Bemidji. Read more about the construction project
  • Sanford Bemidji gives approximately $1 million annually to local non-profit partners. Highlights of our community impact include:
    • $800,000 to North Country Food Bank, serving northern MN.
    • Donated former clinic building to Nameless Coalition for the Homeless in 2021 to use as a day center.
    • Funded Backpack Buddies Foodpack program, providing 83,875 weekend food packs for children in 19 schools.
    • Funded ISD 31 Angel Fund ensuring all students get a hot lunch.
    • Awarded over $41,000 in local scholarships in 2022 to those pursuing a career in health care.
    • Funded an APP and leased space for the Family Advocacy Center of Northern Minnesota.
    • Served over 3,500 meals in 2022 at Community Table – Bemidji.
    • Committed $60,000 to the Battered Women’s Shelter for their new facility.
  • In partnership with the Bemidji Rotary Club, Sanford created the Ridgeway Neighborhood Initiative to improve community wellness. Together, they have offered free vaccinations, access to onsite health care education and resources for families within this underserved neighborhood. In 2022 alone, Sanford Bemidji donated 250 volunteer hours to this initiative.
  • In the last 10 years, Sanford Bemidji has donated over $677,221 to the United Way of the Bemidji Area to support local programs and partner organizations. In 2018, we also committed over $400,000 to the Healthy Kids Initiative in partnership with Bemidji Area School and the United Way. Last year, the United Way awarded us with their Axe Award which is presented to a local organization that went above and beyond to care for our community.
  • We are committed to extending care beyond our bricks and mortar. It is through this work that we identify unmet health needs in the community, and then strategically plan how to best address those needs. For more information refer to the 2022 - 2024 Sanford Bemidji Community Health Needs Assessment

Leading our communities through COVID-19

Throughout the pandemic, Sanford Health partnered with businesses, schools, state and city leaders and other health systems across the upper Midwest, to support and guide our communities—a reminder that we are stronger together.

  • In early 2020, Sanford Health announced a plan to help our hourly workers most impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic Including nurses, this $21.6 million investment included a one-time stability payment, three months of paid health insurance premiums and PTO flexibility.
  • Sanford’s commitment to its people included innovative programs to support employee well-being, and early mission-critical investments allowed the organization to expand testing and hospital bed capacity for COVID-19 patients across the region.
  • At the height of the pandemic, Sanford administered life-saving monoclonal antibodies, offered an innovative home-monitoring program and delivered the vaccine to hundreds of thousands of people across a vast, geographic footprint and advanced research to bring new treatments – and hope – to its patients.
  • New community partnerships in Sioux Falls, Fargo and Bemidji made sure Sanford Health employees and other health care workers and first responders could respond to COVID-19 without worrying about childcare.
  • When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Sanford Family raised more than $1.6 million for the Employee Crisis Fund. Because of that generosity, more than 1,800 colleagues and their families have been able to put food on the table, pay monthly bills and simply make ends meet during a time of unprecedented challenges.
  • The pandemic placed extraordinary stress on our health care teams and contributed to higher rates of mental health challenges. Sanford Health has led efforts to combat work-related stress and burnout through resiliency groups, trainings, a clinical assistance program, counseling, a physician wellness council and comprehensive mental health resources to help our employees take care of themselves physically and emotionally while caring for patients on the frontlines.

Through this COVID-19 Impact Report, Sanford Health leaders describe how the organization and its caregivers responded to the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic.

Myth Busters

Myth: The cost of living is higher in Bemidji compared to Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Fact: Overall, Minneapolis is nearly 43% more expensive than Bemidji. The cost of living index for Bemidji is 73.6, lower than the U.S. average of 100. Below 100 means cheaper than the U.S. average – above 100 means more expensive. The median home cost is the biggest factor in the cost of living difference. The median home cost is 107% more expensive in Minneapolis compared to Bemidji.


Myth: Pay for Sanford Bemidji nurses is not competitive.
Fact: The average hourly base rate for RNs at Sanford Bemidji is on average 1.63 % higher than the average hourly base rate of RNs across the North Central Region of the United States. (Source: 3rd party 2021 RN market salary surveys)

Additional premiums and incentives that stack on top of this base rate are offered for nights, weekends, holidays and on-call shifts. 

Myth: There is not a nationwide nursing shortage.
Fact: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections 2021-2031, the Registered Nursing (RN) workforce is expected to grow by 6% over the next decade. The RN workforce is expected to grow from 3.1 million in 2021 to 3.3 million in 2031, an increase of 195,400 nurses. The Bureau also projects 203,200 openings for RNs each year through 2031 when nurse retirements and workforce exits are factored into the number of nurses needed in the U.S.

Compounding the problem is the fact that nursing schools across the country are struggling to expand capacity to meet the rising demand for care. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is collaborating with schools, policy makers, nursing organizations, and the media to bring attention to this healthcare concern. The AACN is leveraging its resources to shape legislation, identify strategies, and form collaborations to address the shortage.

Myth: Sanford Bemidji is not to hiring additional nurses.
Fact: Sanford Bemidji has hired 341 RNs, LPNs, nursing leads and patient support services staff including certified medical assistants, nursing assistants and nursing technicians. Of the total amount hired, 137 have been in the registered nurse job family.

Myth: Leadership at Sanford Bemidji does not listen to the staffing needs of nurses.
Fact: At Sanford Bemidji, leadership and frontline nurses work side-by-side to develop staffing plans for every single unit, with patient safety and quality always at the forefront. If there is ever a concern about staffing, our nursing supervisors immediately respond to understand and address the issue. Additionally, Sanford Bemidji and MNA have a two-hour meeting each month to review any staffing concerns and continually work to improve schedules for nurses. There is a nursing manager on all units, which allows for continuous leadership presence and support for staff.

Myth: Sanford Bemidji is hiring contract nurses from other countries.
Fact: Staffing shortages in nursing are widespread across our footprint and innovative staffing solutions are needed to address the challenges of hiring enough nurses. Sanford Health is exploring alternative pipelines by recruiting nurses from around the world to meet our staffing needs, now and into the future. However, these internationally trained nurses will be employed and not contract staff.

Sanford Bemidji is expecting the first internationally trained nurses to start in the second quarter of 2023, and by virtue of your collective bargaining agreement, that internationally trained nurse will be a union member at hire.

Myth: There is no need for a professional mediator for labor negotiations.
Fact: A mediator is an impartial professional trained to assist in helping two sides come to a fair agreement. The Federal Government provides mediators as a free resource to help with negotiations and to prevent labor stoppages because of the damage they cause. Sanford Bemidji has historically worked with mediators in labor negotiations.

Myth: Sanford Bemidji could have done more to support nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fact: Within the past two and a half years, Sanford Bemidji created multiple initiatives to support nurses during their patient care shifts. Free and confidential emotional support was and still is available 24/7 to Sanford Bemidji nurses, including counseling and peer coaching.

In addition, we were steadfast in our infection prevention measures, and staff were given the tools and protective equipment they needed. In the first year of the pandemic, we did 46 live town halls where nurses could get the latest updates and ask leaders questions directly. We also sent out 75 COVID-19 updates-a summary of relevant COVID-19 updates and resources to share during team huddles. All town halls, updates and resources were also made available to all nurses whether they were at work or at home.

Myth: Telehealth is bad for patients; all care should happen within the confines of a hospital or clinic.
Fact: Sanford Health’s virtual care offerings began with telehealth services over a decade ago. The use of telehealth is one way we are leveraging innovation to improve how and where people can receive care. Its purpose is to increase accessibility and support patient care delivery through the use of technology with an emphasis on rural communities. Sanford’s virtual care initiatives bring exceptional care to our patients and enhance the health and well-being of the communities we serve.

Myth: Sanford Bemidji spending on charity care is the only community investment the system makes.
Fact: Sanford Bemidji provides charity care, as do many hospital systems, which only represents a portion of total community investment. Between direct giving, charity care and paid volunteer time off we give approximately $10 million per year. Overall, Sanford Health has invested over $100 million into the Bemidji region since the merger with North Country Health ServicesSanford has a strong history of financially contributing to the community and will continue to do so as a mission-based organization.

As a system, we are committed to extending care beyond our bricks and mortar. It is through this work that we identify unmet health needs in the community, and then strategically plan how to best address those needs. For more information refer to the 2022 - 2024 Sanford Bemidji Community Health Needs Assessment

Myth: Denny Sanford owns and operates Sanford Health.
Fact: Denny Sanford is a generous benefactor for Sanford Health but has no formal role within the organization. Throughout the years, Denny Sanford helped to make Sanford Health a leader in the health care industry through his incredible philanthropic gifts. Because of his generosity, we have developed unique initiatives that are making a positive impact in the lives of people here in the upper Midwest and across the globe.

Myth: Sanford Health’s intention to merge with Fairview Health will affect our new contract.
Fact: The recent announcement of Sanford Health’s plans to merge with Fairview Health has no material impact on the current negotiations with Sanford Bemidji and MNA. Until the close of the deal, Sanford and Fairview will continue to operate independently, as separate entities. For more information please visit

Myth: Sanford Health executives, like former President and CEO of Sanford Health, Kelby Krabbenhoft, receive excessive payouts when they depart the organization.
Fact: Legacy defined benefit retirement plans, like the one Mr. Krabbenhoft received, no longer exist at Sanford Health. The payments made in 2020 conclude Sanford Health’s financial obligations to Mr. Krabbenhoft.

Separation pay for departing executives, as reported in Sanford Health’s IRS Form 990, is externally benchmarked by a third party and reviewed by legal counsel. It is based on several factors, including years of service, contractual obligations and circumstances of their departure. In every review, the payment has been deemed appropriate.

Myth: Sanford Health has too many executives in their C-Suite.
Fact: Since becoming president and CEO of Sanford Health, Bill Gassen has cut the size of the executive team in half and continues to be focused on finding additional ways to reduce corporate administration expenses. This is an important improvement that will better focus our work and reduce expense, allowing Sanford Health to maximize our investments in our people and frontline caregivers.

Myth: Sanford’s executives are paid too much.
Fact: Our goal is to provide reasonable and competitive compensation to all employees compared to health care organizations of a similar size and complexity. For the entire Sanford Family, we continue to invest in compensation increases to ensure pay is fair and equitable, while staying competitive with the local market. For executives and physicians, we use survey data to ensure pay is in-line with market-based compensation. Our executive compensation has been consistently benchmarked with the help of an independent firm, Sullivan Cotter, to ensure it compares with other large non-profit health care systems of our size and scale.