The Avera Heart Hospital is celebrating its 8th birthday this spring. The physician owned specialty hospital was the first of its kind in South Dakota. Here are two of the men who helped see it through to fruition.
In the fall of 1999, the area off W. 69th and I-229 was a soybean field, but a vision of change had already planted. In March of 2001 that vision would grow into the Avera Heart Hospital of South Dakota.
Avera Heart Hospital CEO Jon Soderholm says, "The combine came in and cleared out the beans. They dug a hole and a year and a half later we opened a 55 bed state-of-the-art cardiovascular hospital."
The Avera Heart Hospital is in its 8th year now. It's a physician owned for-profit specialty hospital for cardiovascular care. It's first of its kind, on many levels, in South Dakota.
Cardiovascular Surgeon Dr. Jim Reynolds with North Central Heart says, "When you have one product line the doctors-nurses-technicians are all proficient in what they do and if you are proficient in something you do it very well. So I think specialty hospitals can improve your quality in that way.
Soderholm says, "Very few people can say they built a hospital from scratch. The 400 who work here are all part of that process because it takes a very large team and a team with many talents to make this happen. Not just one person."
Soderholm also says his customers, you the patients and family members, need and demand 3 things. Three things he is insistent on providing.
1. A clean facility
2. Good food
3. And people that are good to you
He says, "They can't judge the "gee wiz" things we do every day. They can't judge the surgery Dr. Reynolds does every day there is no way for them to do that. But they can judge those 3 things."
There are 3 equal partners in the Avera Heart Hospital. Each entity owns a third of it.
Avera, MedCath (the managing partner and publicly traded company) and North Central Heart
(Physician group). Dr. Jim Reynolds was one of the 5 founding members 28 years ago.
Dr. Reynolds says, "Although I'm reaching the end of my career, it isn't with any less excitement that I come to work each day."
Soderholm says as technology and healthcare continues to change, so will the Heart Hospital. He says the high quality of care will always be at the core of their success.
In November of 2008, the Avera Heart Hospital of South Dakota was once again named one of the Nation's Top 100 Cardiovascular Hospitals by Thomson Reuters. It was the third year running.