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Nathan Dogood, Wahpeton, N.D., Published August 07 2012

Sanford forgets about its public

Sanford Health held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new medical center, followed by a lavish party with entertainment by Train. From all reports this was a gathering led by T. Denny Sanford, many of Sanford’s highest officials, North Dakota officials (the governor, Fargo’s mayor and other dignitaries) and other select few, as well as Sanford employees, family and friends.

However, the public who will use (and therefore pay for) this facility was not invited to either the groundbreaking ceremony or the party but instead were asked to avoid the area so that the invited would have less traffic congestion to deal with.

In this day of increasingly higher health costs (and campaign ads complaining of the costs of the Affordable Health Care Act), was this the appropriate time for a celebration of this magnitude? Will the public end up subsidizing this party, as well as the new medical center?

A quote in The Forum from one of those invited was “Let’s have some fun,” but was this maybe a bit overboard? To be sure, a groundbreaking of a medical center of this magnitude is something that rarely occurs, but perhaps it may have been a time for more moderation or inclusion of the public as well.