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Published on September 16, 2019

Note of Thanks from Avera Leaders

We are extremely grateful at the outpouring of support from our community partners, state, city, board members, volunteers and staff. The power of prayers offered up during this disaster and recovery were truly amazing. We have heard countless uplifting stories of strength and compassion in the midst of uncertainty. The courageous staff can be credited in evacuating a 110-bed behavioral health hospital as well as the heart hospital, and preventing loss of life. Thanks to everyone for their genuine concern.

  • In Sioux Falls, recovery and restoration of services continue after last Tuesday night’s tornadoes damaged the Avera Behavioral Health Center. We are committed to continuing to offer behavioral health services to some of our most fragile patients, and we’re proud to say our staff pulled together quickly to ensure minimal disruption while the building is being repaired. Repairs to some parts of the building could take several months.
  • Behavioral health assessments are being conducted for those needing behavioral health care. Individuals are asked to call the Behavioral Health Assessment line at 1-800-691-4336. This is a 24/7 service, and individuals will then be directed to the appropriate level of care.
  • Avera Medical Group University Psychiatry Associates and Avera Medical Group Midwest Psychiatric Medicine clinics located at the Avera Behavioral Health Center reopened today, Monday, September 16.
  • Avera Behavioral Health is providing temporary inpatient care at Human Services Center (HSC) in Yankton. We are utilizing two adult acute units and will begin utilizing an adolescent unit at HSC. Space at the HSC will allow up to 30 beds for adult and 20 beds for adolescent psychiatric care. Avera staff are on-site at HSC to provide behavioral health services including all medications and lab needs. Avera will use the HSC location until the building in Sioux Falls has been repaired and is determined safe to reopen.
  • Adult patients were transferred to HSC Wednesday evening. Pediatric and adolescent patients are currently being treated in a subset of the pediatric unit at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center in Sioux Falls.

Other care delivery buildings were damaged in Sioux Falls. Services have been relocated or resumed in most cases:

  • Avera Sports Institute: The air-supported dome portion of the Avera Sports Institute was destroyed. Some services were relocated or interrupted, but have resumed in the hard structure: Athletic Republic training, AR Fit training, Triathlon training. Avera Therapy at Avera Sports Institute resumed today, Sept. 16.
  • North Central Heart clinic has reopened today, Sept. 16.
  • Avera Heart Hospital received cosmetic damage to the outside of the building, but patient care areas were not affected. All surgeries and procedures are functioning business as usual.

 Administrative buildings in Sioux Falls suffered tornado and flood damage:

  • Avera Central Office at 3800 West Avera Drive also suffered damage from the tornado. This is Avera’s corporate headquarters, housing executive leadership and many centralized services employees. Repairs could take several weeks, so employees will be working at other locations across Sioux Falls.  

Fortunately, the soon-to-be-opened Avera Specialty Hospital and Avera Medical Group clinics on the Avera on Louise Health Campus were not damaged by the storm. Neither were any buildings on the Avera McKennan campus.

We appreciate your concern and prayers during this difficult time. I know that our Avera team is up to the challenges presented this week, but we do appreciate the concern expressed by many of you. Prayers are needed and welcome. We are praying for all those still impacted by flooding and wind damage.

Thank you, as always, for your support and contributions to our health ministry.


Bob Sutton, President and CEO of Avera Health

David Flicek, President and CEO of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center



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Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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