SIOUX FALLS, S. . D.. . (AP) – The head of one of the largest regional health systems in the Midwest was replaced on Tuesday, less than a week after telling staff that he had recovered from COVID-19 and was not wearing a mask in the office.
Sanford Health said in a press release that it « mutually agreed to part ways » with longtime CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft, who took over the organization in 1996 and helped transform the organization from a community hospital into the largest rural nonprofit health care system expand in the country.
Krabbenhoft left the management position after emailing staff to say that he believes he is immune to COVID-19 for « at least seven months and maybe years » and that he poses no threat to it to pass on to anyone. He said wearing a mask was just for show. Other Sanford executives tried to distance themselves from the comments.
Dr. . Kathy Anderson, president of the North Dakota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said it was « particularly dangerous news to be broadcast now in North Dakota. ”
The U. . S.. . The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise people to wear masks as they prevent infected people – whether they know it or not – from spreading the coronavirus. It is also said that masks can protect wearers who are not infected, albeit to a lesser extent.
Krabbenhoft said in a statement that the timing of his departure was right for him and his family.
« We decided that today is a good time to retire, » he said. “Sanford is in a good place, the strongest ever. ”
The company’s board of trustees has charged Bill Gassen with the takeover of Krabbenhoft. Gassen has been with Sanford since 2012 and most recently as Chief Administrative Officer. His appointment is effective immediately.
Sanford Health, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has 46 hospitals and more than 200 clinics in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa. It employs around 50. 000 employees. According to the COVID Tracking Project, the Dakotas had the worst spread rates in the country for the coronavirus for weeks.
Krabbenhoft is leaving a month after Intermountain Healthcare of Sanford and Salt Lake City announced plans to merge companies. Krabbenhoft should become President Emeritus after the merger, which has yet to be approved.
Kelby Krabbenhoft, General Manager, Sanford Health Home Medical Equipment, South Dakota
World News – USA – Sanford replaces CEO after controversial email about masks
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