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New Sanford Health president and CEO discusses priorities

Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 6:24 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - It’s been 24 hours since Sanford Health announced its CEO, Kelby Krabbenhoft, is no longer a part of the organization. The Board of Trustees has already appointed Krabbenhoft’s successor, effective immediately.

That man is Bill Gassen, who has been with Sanford since 2012 and previously served as the chief administrative officer. Gassen says he’s up for the challenge of leading the Sanford Health organization, especially during this pandemic.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to really focus the attention of this organization on our people, on our clinical excellence, and in so doing I really want to make sure that we focus the attention on the patient,” said Gassen.

His top priority right now is looking at the challenges Sanford is facing during COVID-19 and coming up with solutions.

“Making sure that we are doing everything we possibly can to equip our caregivers to fight this pandemic, to win against this pandemic, and to prepare ourselves going forward to meet the ongoing needs of all our patients in the communities we serve,” said Gassen.

Some of his focuses will include making sure staff have enough PPE, and that they feel supported.

“So really, it’s our people and then just making sure that we’ve got the appropriate level of capacity,” said Gassen.

He’s also focusing on assuring patients that it is safe to come into the Sanford clinics and medical centers to get the care they need.

Gassen first joined Sanford’s legal department in 2012. Since then he’s held many different roles that have allowed him to experience different aspects of the organization, from working at the medical center in Sioux Falls to the corporate office.

“Through each one of those lenses it still comes back to what I talked about before is it’s the patient,” said Gassen.

All these different experiences he believes will help him be successful in this new role.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, he also praised employees for their work during the pandemic.

“It’s those individuals who didn’t just do this for a week or a month, but they’ve been at this now for close to nine months. It’s a challenge that they face and they face it bravely each and every day and it’s at the top of my list right now as I’m thankful for them,” said Gassen.

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