Help on wheels

Providing healthcare in the oilfields of western North Dakota and eastern Montana can be a challenge, but Sanford Health may have come up with a solution. After working with leaders in the Bakken, Sanford Health has introduced an innovative new service, O.P.C. mobileMED, that will provide health care services directly in the oilfields for oil-producing companies and their subsidiaries.

The key to Sanford Health’s plan centers on partnerships with companies serving the Bakken oilfields. Sanford will deploy two mobile clinics that will travel to different locations in the Bakken region. The service will also feature a stationed modular clinic that will initially be located in Watford City. The project will mean an initial investment of $2.7 million, along with $4.8 million in annual operating expenses. Sanford Health, by being in the center of the oilfields, will focus on building and maintaining a healthy workforce with convenient medical services. The convenient medical services will allow employees, who have an industry-wide 80 percent injury rate, to feel better soon and return to work more quickly.

“With populations swelling at unprecedented speed, both energy companies and related industries are thriving, while the healthcare industry has struggled to figure out the best way to meet the demand,” said Kelby Krabbenhoft, President/CEO of Sanford Health. “Sanford’s approach is unique because we are not just another clinic providing standalone occupational medicine, we have the support of one of the nation’s largest fully integrated health enterprises.”

Services provided on both the O.P.C. mobileMED units and the stationary clinic will include work-related and non-work-related health care services, such as employment physicals and screenings, and acute care for sore throats, coughs and other illnesses. Additionally, Sanford Health will also do lab work, X-rays and provide access to telemedicine, emergency transportation or referrals for advanced injuries.

Employers will also be able to customize their program by choosing from a menu of services that fit their specific needs.

Dr. Craig Lambrecht, president of Sanford Health in Bismarck, said the service is scheduled to begin early this summer. He is unaware of any similar services offered anywhere in the U.S., he added.

“O.P.C. mobileMED is a win-win situation for the industries and local communities,” said Dr. Joel Blanchard, medical director of Sanford Health Occupational Medicine and O.P.C. mobileMED. “Providing direct, onsite services to oilfield employees will decrease the burden on local healthcare facilities, reducing over-crowding in clinics and emergency departments.”

“Sanford made a promise to improve healthcare in the region,” Lambrecht added. “This service is another delivery on that promise.”

Employers interested in learning more about O.P.C. mobileMED can call 866-310-5222 or email Cindy Thompson at