Sanford Health, an integrated health system headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has partnered with YMCI Calmette Medical Investment & Management Company, a state-owned company of the Yunnan Provincial government in China, to build and operate a children’s clinic in the south-western Chinese city of Kunming.

The new two-storey, 18,000ft² Sanford World Clinic will be located in Kunming, a city of more than six million which is growing rapidly and has a significant need for primary care for children.

Under the terms of agreement, YMCI Calmette will own the clinic, and Sanford World Clinic will manage day-to-day operations and provide medical services.

The children’s clinic will also have a connection to Sanford Health’s extensive clinical, research and administrative expertise in South Dakota.

YMCI Calmette may also utilise the Kunming clinic, which has the capacity to hold up to ten primary care paediatric physicians, for rotating paediatric sub-specialists.

YMCI Calmette general manager Dr Li Li said that Kunming, and particularly the area surrounding the paediatric clinic, is experiencing significant growth with a large number of young families.

"With this growth comes the increased need for health care," Dr Li added.

"We look forward to working with Sanford to provide care to children of this rapidly expanding region of China."

YMCI Calmette currently operates the non-profit First Hospital of Kunming and is developing a new 1,100-bed hospital complex in the northern part of Kunming, which will also include a consolidated and expanded outpatient paediatric clinic in collaboration with Sanford.

The hospital and clinic are expected to open in the spring of 2014.

Sanford senior executive vice president Dave Link said that the decision to expand into China stems from the company’s goal to expand health care services to areas of need, especially where children need health care.

"This clinic also allows us to better understand how health care is delivered and financed around the world."

"This clinic also allows us to better understand how health care is delivered and financed around the world," Link added.

"We are confident that we can assist YMCI Calmette achieve its mission to deliver the best care in the region, and we look forward to this collaboration."

The connection to Kunming and YMCI Calmette was made possible through Dr Zhiguang Guo, a research scientist with Sanford who previously worked with YMCI Calmette physicians.

Sanford World Clinics has already opened children’s clinics in Oklahoma, California and Oregon and has internationally developed four clinics in Ghana, Africa.

In addition to the planned clinic for Kunming, China, Sanford is also pursuing projects in Israel and Mexico and is evaluating several other locations worldwide.

Sanford Health, comprising 39 hospitals, 140 clinic locations and 1,360 physicians in 81 speciality areas of medicine, is the largest, rural, not-for-profit health care system in the US, with locations in 126 communities in nine states.

Image: Sanford is to collaborate with a Chinese healthcare partner to provide care for children. Photo courtesy of Sanford Health.