Trustee, the doctor prioritizes quality throughout the organization

Mark Paulson, MD, served in a governance role beginning on the board of North Dakota-based MeritCare shortly before its merger with Sanford Health in 2009.

More than a decade later, as one of the longest-serving members of the now Sanford Health Board of Trustees, he is grateful for the opportunity to serve.

In fact, he was chosen to serve as chairman of the board in 2018.

“Being on the board has given me the opportunity to see the organization as a whole,” Dr. Paulson told Sanford Health News. “I think that probably opened my eyes more than anything, to be able to see everything that goes on to provide individual patient care.”

Dr. Paulson, a North Dakota family medicine physician, has cared for Sanford Health patients in the Upper Midwest since 1988.

With that, you’ve seen a lot of changes at Sanford Health from a regional perspective and across the area that Sanford serves.

‘Unique perspective’ serving on the board

Dr. Paulson is one of three Sanford physicians, and four physicians in all, currently serving on the Board of Directors.

Related: Sanford Physician, Trustee Maria Bell Leads With Experience

“When I go to board meetings, I almost have to take off one hat and put on another hat to separate my roles and try to clear my head to start thinking at the corporate level instead of thinking at the patient and exam room level” . he said.

His mission, philosophy, and focus from the beginning was to bring quality to the health care system, whether through financial stability, expansion of services, or improvement of care for each individual patient.

“We recently started a board committee with a focus on quality,” explained Dr. Paulson. “We recognize that quality promotes patient satisfaction and employee satisfaction. It has so many different aspects.”

Speaking of providing quality care, one of her passions in the workplace includes providing emergency medical services and quality care to rural and underserved towns and full-spectrum healthcare anywhere in the region. In fact, Dr. Paulson spent eight years serving on the Minnesota Department of Health’s Trauma Advisory Council.

As a board member, he is eager to see Sanford reinvent rural care to improve access to all patients regardless of ZIP code.

Although exciting, he admits that it is the tip of the iceberg.

“From electronic video visits, new technologies to monitoring patients at home, and skills and other things that we’re getting into, it’s just getting started.”

In addition, Dr. Paulson is excited about modern medical technology such as cell biology, CAR T cell therapy, and mRNA vaccines that bring cures and advances in patient care.

Provide and lead rural care.

Caring for nearly 12,000 patients at the Sanford/Perham Health Clinic in Otter Tail County, Dr. Paulson knows rural health.

“When you talk about the nature of rural, if you’re delivering high-quality healthcare to the front of every city in your footprint, you’ll do a good job of delivering rural healthcare,” he said. “It’s about solving the obstacles and the challenges of how to do it, for example, the recruitment of talent, the finances to develop services, the services to transfer patients.”

“In primary care, I can see that,” he continued. “I transfer patients, I work with specialists, I refer patients beyond my practice. Primary care offers a very good vision of what this rural talent should be”.

Outside of patient care, Dr. Paulson is no stranger to additional leadership roles. He has served the medical community in various ways over the years.

outside the clinic

At home, Dr. Paulson’s six children and many grandchildren keep him busy, which ultimately brings him the greatest joy.

“My wife told me: ‘No one is going to remember you because you went to that meeting or you didn’t have perfect attendance… it’s your children and your grandchildren who will remember you.’

Dr. Paulson’s term on the board ends at the end of 2022.

“A lot of what I wanted to accomplish, with the quality committee and continue to grow the organization, I think it happened,” he said. “I leave the board in a great place because the board culture is amazing with high-quality people who have great vision.”

About the Board

Sanford Health’s 13-member Board of Trustees oversees the governance of the health system, guides the pursuit of Sanford’s mission, and oversees the organization’s strategic direction and financial and operational performance.

Read: Banker, civic leader aims to do all the good she can

Sanford Health’s trustees are elected by the full board and currently serve up to three three-year terms. The Nominating and Governance Committee of the Board of Trustees is responsible for identifying, evaluating and recommending potential new members based on their qualifications and experience. The trustees represent a wide range of backgrounds, with extensive experience in business and finance, healthcare, technology, and the non-profit sector.

Posted in Company News, Corporate Services & Management, Family Medicine, Healthcare Leadership, News, People & Culture, Physicians & Apps, Rural Health, Sanford Stories

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