In September 2019 and in response to citizens expressing concerns about access to health care services in Williston, Mayor Howard Klug announced that those concerns were heard and the City Commission would take action to address them.
City leadership understood there were gaps in the availability of health care services and recognized action is needed to improve and sustain health care services for the residents of the region.
At the October 22, 2019 City Commission meeting, the City Commission approved a contract between the City of Williston and Cardon Global, LLC to conduct a community health care needs assessment.
The goal of the health care needs assessment was to gather information to inform leadership in order for the city to develop a plan to address community concerns about access to and the delivery of health care services. It was agreed the assessment would include focus group meetings and an online survey to secure input from citizens and stakeholders. The information gathered would be summarized in a report for the commission, which would assist the commission in developing a plan to address the identified needs.
The health care needs assessment included focus groups, an online survey, and discussions with leadership at Catholic Health Initiatives, as well as other interested stakeholders.
There were four facilitated focus group meetings. Individuals from the community were invited to participate and the facilitated discussion allowed attendees to articulate their views about the current status of health, current and future health care needs, as well as options and priorities to address the identified health care needs.
The online survey augmented the focus group meetings and was designed to capture input from additional citizens and stakeholders, based on themes identified in the focus group meetings. The survey was available from January 3, 2020 through January 17, 2020.
A total of 1,233 people took the online survey. Of the questions that were asked, all 1,233 answered the majority. A total of 927 were reported to have completed the survey through the final question that required them to provide the city, state, and postal code in which they live.
It is evident from the input received from both the focus group meetings and the online survey that the citizens of Williston (and the surrounding area) are proud of their community and Northwest North Dakota and want their community to meet the needs of the people who work and live here. Overall, the comments demonstrate hope and expectation that health care gaps will be addressed.
On March 2, 2021, the City of Williston hosted a Williston Square Announcement at 2:00 p.m. in the former Sloulin Field International Airport hangar at 408 Airport Road.
As part of the announcement, the City of Williston and Sanford Health announced that they had signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with the goal of enhancing health care in the Williston Community and region.
The LOI sets the vision to build a new hospital and clinic, which will be located in Williston Square, an 800-acre development on the former site of Sloulin Field International Airport, that also includes plans for a Civic Center, shopping, restaurants, and new residential homes and apartment buildings.
Sanford Health and City of Williston leaders share a vision of the future of health care for the region, one that enhances access and provides quality care to the community, western North Dakota, and eastern Montana.
Pictured is an initial rendering of the hospital and clinic presented on March 2, 2021.
To obtain guidance on local health care priorities, Sanford Health established a Williston community board. On April 5, 2021, Sanford Health announced its initial community board which will provide planning and development oversight of Sanford’s Williston operations and becomes the first hospital board upon project completion.
Community board members include:
- Ward Koeser: Former co-owner, Kotana Communications/former Williston mayor
- Charlotte Ferrell: Regional director, Northwest Human Service Center
- Sara Kasmer: Accountant controller/oil and gas analyst, K&A Oil
- Dan Kalil: President, Kalil Farms
- Dr. Bernell Hirning: President, Williston State College
- Kristin Iverson: Financial associate, Thrivent
- Whitney Stephenson: Senior landman, Equinor
- Travis Pribula: Co-owner/coach at CrossFit Vokse
- Sen. Brad Bekkedahl: State senator representing District 1, Williston City Commissioner
- Steve Kemp: Williams County Commissioner
Local Sanford physicians will be added to the community board for the new hospital and clinic in the future.
On August 27, 2021, the City of Williston and Sanford Health provided an update on the planning process for the new hospital and clinic in Williston. The groups originally aimed to have an agreement completed by August 31, 2021.
“We are excited to further our vision for enhancing health care in Williston and the surrounding communities, and we are committed to that goal,” said Dr. Michael LeBeau, MD, then president/CEO of the Bismarck region of Sanford Health. “Projects of this caliber take time. We appreciate the community’s patience as we work toward finalizing the definitive agreement.” As of November 1, 2021, Dr. LeBeau serves as system vice president, chief administrative officer for the health services division of Sanford Health.
The City of Williston also announced that it would host a public meeting in the fall to share important project updates on Williston Square and the Sanford Health project and answer questions.
“We continue to work closely with Sanford Health on this project to ensure we get it right,” said City of Williston Mayor Howard Klug. “As we move forward, community voices will remain a core component of the planning process.”
On Wednesday, October 27, 2021, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Williston Area Recreation Center, the City of Williston hosted a Williston Square Update meeting which included updates on construction progress, retail, and the Sanford Health project.
As a first step toward enhancing health care in Williston and in partnership with the City of Williston, Sanford Health announced that it will build a multi-specialty clinic in Williston Square. Sanford Health will break ground on this new location in mid-2022 with an anticipated opening date of late 2023.
Located on the corner of 33rd Street and Second Avenue West in the southeastern area of Williston Square, the clinic has the potential to include more than 100 exam rooms and offer primary care and specialty services including a walk-in clinic, infusion center, imaging equipment, and a lab.
Pictured is a rendering of the multi-specialty clinic presented on October 27, 2021.
Sanford Health purchased 25.22 acres of land from the City of Williston and the fully executed Commercial Real Estate Purchase Agreement can be reviewed here.
City of Williston, Sanford Health sign Letter of Intent to build a new hospital and clinic | March 2, 2021
Sanford Health announces Williston community board | April 5, 2021
Planning continues for new clinic and hospital in Williston | Aug. 27, 2021
City of Williston, Sanford Health announced plans for Williston multi-specialty clinic | Oct. 27, 2021
About Sanford Health
The Sanford Bismarck region provides health care to central and western North Dakota, eastern Montana, and northern South Dakota. It includes 21 clinics in Bismarck, Mandan, Minot, Dickinson, and Watford City, as well as a Level II trauma center located in Bismarck. Sanford Health, one of the largest health systems in the United States, is dedicated to the integrated delivery of health care, genomic medicine, senior care and services, global clinics, research, and affordable insurance. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the organization includes 46 hospitals, 1,400 physicians, and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and 10 countries. Learn more about Sanford Health at sanfordhealth.org or Sanford Health News.