Editors note: William Dendinger, M.D., one of the physicians who helped whats now known as Vermillion Medical Clinic get its start here in 1989, submitted this writing to the Plain Talk as the clinic celebrated its 30th anniversary.
I started practicing Family Medicine in Vermillion in July of 1977. At that time, I joined Dr. Harold Fletcher and his clinic which was the Vermillion Medical Clinic, P.C. Later in the summer of 1977, Dr. Thomas Olson also started practicing in Vermillion. He joined Dr. Ed Moore in his clinic.
During the next several years there were numerous physicians who came to Vermillion and who practiced in different clinic arrangements. Unfortunately the medical community lacked stability. At that time the medical clinics and the hospital lacked the space and facilities for retention of additional physicians and the addition of new technology.
In 1983, I along with three other physicians joined to create the Medical Associates Clinic, P.C. Clinic.
The Dakota Hospital, which had opened in 1935, was badly in need of updating and expansion. The Dakota Hospital Board spent a great deal of time discussing the future of health care expansion in the Vermillion community. They searched for ways to improve the Dakota Hospital Facility and attached Care Center.
The Dakota Hospital Board was composed of community leaders in Vermillion. Neither the physicians in Vermillion nor the members of the hospital board had the answer as to how to improve the health care community in Vermillion.
In 1989, I was the only original shareholder of the Medical Associates, P.C. remaining in the clinic. I was continuing to seek clinic management advice and stability. Thus I signed a contract to join the Yankton Medical Clinic and on July 1, 1989 the Medical Associates, P.C. Clinic joined the Yankton Medical Clinic in Yankton. The clinic name was changed to the Vermillion Medical Clinic in December of 1997. The Yankton Medical Clinic Board recommended that the clinic name be changed to be more identifiable to the community of Vermillion. It would also be more consistent with the name of the Yankton Medical Clinic in Yankton.
Also in 1989, the Dakota Hospital Board voted to join the Sioux Valley Health System in Sioux Falls. In the future years, the Sioux Valley Health System became Sanford Health System.
Since 1989, new facilities have been built for the Vermillion Medical Clinic, the Sanford Health Vermillion and the Olson Medical Clinic. These new facilities created the space for additional physicians and for advances in technology.
The ribbon cutting for the new hospital and medical center was on June 1993.
The ribbon cutting for the new Vermillion Medical Clinic building at 101 South Plum Street was on Nov. 3, 1994.
Both of these facilities have had updates and renovations since that time. Sanford Vermillion had a recent open house displaying their new renovations on Oct. 7.
Also since 1998, not only have numerous primary care physicians and physician assistants have been recruited to clinics in Vermillion, but retention of these health care providers has greatly increased.
In addition to this, there has been a great increase in the number of outreach specialty physicians who have been traveling to the Sanford Health-Vermillion Medical Center and the Vermillion Medical Clinic from Sioux Falls and Yankton.
With the increased number of physicians and the improved health care facilities, the medical community has been able to provide educational opportunities for students pursuing degrees in health care at the University of South Dakota and area Universities. Numerous medical students have studied with Vermillion Community physicians and physician assistants.
Thus on Nov. 14, 2019, I am celebrating with the Vermillion Medical Clinic, 30 years of affiliation with the Yankton Medical Clinic and 25 years since the ribbon cutting for the new building. The Yankton Medical Clinic has made a significant monetary investment in Vermillion not only with investing in a new Vermillion Medical Clinic structure, but also providing the new technology, staffing and maintenance for the clinic. The physicians of the Yankton Medical Clinic have also made a great personal commitment in traveling to Vermillion providing outreach services.
I am also celebrating 30 years of great advances in health care facilities and increased number of providers throughout the community of Vermillion since 1989. We celebrate not only a clinic anniversary but also a community health care anniversary. It is a great time for health care in Vermillion.
William Dendinger, M.D.
1549 Crestview Drive
Vermillion, South Dakota 57069