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Sanford Execs Get Big Payments for Leaving

Kelby Krabbenhoft made medically incorrect statements that undermined Sanford Health’s mission to protect public health, and Sanford Health had to give him $49.5 million to head for the exit.

I wish I could screw up that profitably.

Sanford’s other recent departures have also taken a lot of money out of the organization… and it seems that the farther one rises up the Sanford ladder away from providing actual health care, the more money one can get:

Dr. Daniel Blue, who was president of Sanford World Clinics, received $6 million in compensation, retirement, benefits and separation. Nate White, who was chief operating officer, received $4 million. Former chief legal officer Kim Patrick received $3.9 million. Dr. Allison Suttle, who was chief medical officer, received $3.5 million. Finally, JoAnn Kunkel was chief financial officer; she received $8 million [Dan Santella, “What Krabbenhoft, Departing Sanford Health Executives Made in 2020,” KELO-TV, updated 2021.11.16].

I hope the doctors and nurses who actually cure what ails us get comparably comfortable parting gifts when they end their service with Sanford.


  1. larry kurtz 2021-11-16 07:08

    How South Dakota’s medical industry hasn’t collapsed under its own weight remains a mystery.

    Bankers continue to enslave landowners and the state’s medical industry triopoly operates without scrutiny. Part of the international crime syndicate that is the Roman Church, Avera Health is a federally-subsidized hospital funneling money to parishes paying settlements or hush money for the sins of predatory priests paid for by insurers and patients.

    South Dakota is most lucrative state to practice medicine. Sanford, Avera and Rapid City Regional now Monument Health enjoy a virtual monopolies in their markets so why isn’t there a commission like SDPUC to regulate medical care costs? Because the state is a corporatist tax haven for an exclusive set of Republicans while over $3 trillion languishes in South Dakota banks and sleaze balls like Denny Sanford and Dana Dykhouse get their names on buildings, labs and football stadiums.

  2. Porter Lansing 2021-11-16 07:36

    Instead of being jealous, accept that administrators are paid more than workers.

  3. sx123 2021-11-16 07:39

    This isn’t just Sanford, this is how many American companies operate now. Provide no added value, get big payout. And companies wonder why they can’t hire enough workers… Why slave away when upper management are getting these ridiculous payouts?

  4. John 2021-11-16 08:15

    The salaries are unconscionable. The Surgeon General has far more responsibility and accountability at a fraction of those overblown salaries.
    The US should nationalize healthcare now.

  5. Richard Schriever 2021-11-16 08:29

    Here here John.

    And Larry – Sanford and Avera each operate their own health insurance companies, so they always have a pool of funds whether they actually provide any service or not. It’s a pretty dead certainty that the premiums collected on an annual basis (along with Medicare and Medicaid receipts) are calculated to assure coverage of any and all operational expenses and then some. High level execs are compensated as they are because it is they who do the calculations and finaglings to be sure both they and the organization as a whole are surviving nicely and as stress freely as possible. It’s better that actual service providers do not have to focus on anything other to providing the very best service.

    Ask any private office provider how much time they spend on such maneuverings and strategizing that has NOTHING to do with medicine. I just went to a new dental office a couple weeks ago with an emergency. There were 4 people other to the dentist – two of whom did STRICTLY paper work, Following John’s directive to nationalize health care would cut all of those costs – ALL of them, already administered by HHS.

  6. Nick Nemec 2021-11-16 08:31

    Next up, Sanford will complain they can’t find anyone willing to work in housekeeping or food service for the wages offered.

  7. larry kurtz 2021-11-16 08:38

    Yes, socialized agriculture, socialized dairies, socialized cheese, socialized livestock production, a socialized timber industry, socialized air service, socialized freight rail, a socialized nursing home industry and now a socialized internet are all fine with Republicans in South Dakota but then they insist single-payer medical insurance is socialized medicine.

  8. Eve Fisher 2021-11-16 08:51

    Larry, the reason they’re against single-payer medical insurance and call it “socialized medicine” is because EVERYBODY would get health care. At least with the other socialized industries, the poor can still be screwed with impunity.

  9. Loren 2021-11-16 09:25

    The ol’ “gotta pay top dollar to attract top talent” apparently applies only to management. I heard that same bovine exhaust all my working years. I guess you don’t have to pay for talent at the bottom, only the top. When was the last time someone on the factory floor, assembly line…, screwed up and was offered large sums of $$$ to leave? I’ll wait… !@#$%^&*!

  10. larry kurtz 2021-11-16 09:37

    Maybe it’s more like covering all your bases, carrying a rabbit’s foot plus the hope that science and modern medicine are always conducted with only humanitarian motives in mind all rolled up into Medicare with liberty and justice for all.

  11. WillyNilly 2021-11-16 10:17

    So… does this explain Sanford’s rabid approach to bill collections? Gotta pay Kelby first and most?

  12. Mark Anderson 2021-11-16 14:13

    Well this isn’t the best look for their pursuit of Medicaid. It’s like my father said about why he never bought an LTD. He said he was saving his last two dollars. Looks like the need the last two doesn’t it?

  13. S 2021-11-16 20:44

    Hospitals’ perk as tax exempt is obsolete. They operate as big corporations, pay their executives big corporate salaries, and wring every available dollar from their customers. When will our legislators understand this and remove the “not for profit” farce that they still embrace? They need to contribute to our schools, police and fire departments like every other business in the State.

  14. ABC 2021-11-19 21:26

    Instead of complaining, do something positive!

    If Democrats have run the state since 1979, do you think Krabbenhoft’s $49 000 000 payout would have been any different? No. Of course not.

    Look at the numbers. 15 million severance, 5 million salary, 29 million employee benefit plan money.

    Are you living in an either/ or world? Or an AND world?

    Can you imagine a world where Everyone gets a 49 million payout after years of work? You can’t.

    I can?

    You can either create more abundance for everybody, or you can limit the spread of abundance for everyone by complaining and bitching and criticizing.

    Look, under Republican or Democratic or Mongolian Environmental Party, he would have gotten the same payout.

    If you want to increase pay, create companies that pay better and offer employment contracts instead of at will employment.


    Let’s increase everyone’s pay!

    If you have a nickel on the table, stop complaining! Start a company! Prosper many 100s or thousands of people!

    I know you can do it!

  15. ABC 2021-11-19 21:38

    I can.

    (Sorry about the typo).

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