Avera Health is a regional health system based in Sioux Falls, S.D., comprising more than 300 locations in 100 communities throughout South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and North Dakota. Avera serves a geographical footprint of more than 72,000 square miles and 86 counties, and a population of nearly 1 million.
As a fully integrated health system, Avera Health includes Avera Medical Group, which is composed of physicians and advanced practice providers who serve patients at nearly 200 secure locations across the five-state region.
Throughout the region, Avera Health offers care in 60 distinct specialties, including behavioral health, cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, brain and spine, neurosurgery, digestive disease, bariatrics, dermatology, endocrinology and diabetes, ophthalmology, pulmonology and sleep medicine, pain management, neonatology, pediatrics, rheumatology, women's specialties and more.
In addition to care, Avera Health Plans was created in 1999 to offer affordable health insurance and a large network of providers. Today, Avera Health Plans serves individuals, families, and employer groups in South Dakota and Iowa and is the third largest health plan in the state of South Dakota.
With more than 16,000 employees and physicians, Avera is South Dakota's largest private employer. The name Avera is derived from a Latin term meaning "to be well."
The Avera Central Office is based in Sioux Falls, S.D., with six regional centers:
Avera St. Luke's Hospital, Aberdeen, S.D.
Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center, Marshall, Minn.
Avera Queen of Peace Hospital, Mitchell, S.D.
Avera St. Mary's Hospital, Pierre, S.D.
Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, Sioux Falls, S.D.
Avera came into existence when two orders of religious women--the Benedictine Sisters of Yankton, S.D., and the Presentation Sisters of Aberdeen, S.D.--merged their Catholic health care systems into a single entity.
These two religious orders serve as Avera's sponsors; that is, their association with Avera gives it the status of officially being a work of the Catholic Church.
Over the years, the Sisters have served in many roles, from governance and administration, to nursing, lab and dietary.
Their focus is on meeting the health care needs of the communities they serve.
Providing access to health care and specialists in rural and underserved communities through innovative programs is central to Avera's mission.
With experience in providing virtual care that dates back to 1993, Avera has developed the largest and most robust telehealth service in the world. eCARE uses interactive video and technology to connect with outlying sites through a virtual hospital based in Sioux Falls. This is the first telehealth center in the world to provide around-the-clock access to board-certified intensivists and emergency physicians, hospital-trained pharmacists and experienced nursing staff. eCARE partners with hospitals to provide increased access to specialists through:
eCARE continues to innovate through pilot projects to reach new populations through e-services, including schools, worksites and more.
Research, Genomics and Genetics
Avera's genomics team involves multiple experts locally and across the nation and world. Working primarily with breast and gynecologic cancer patients, this team uses genetic analysis to recommend therapies targeted to fight an individual tumor. The Avera Institute for Human Genetics offers personalized medicine for pain management, behavioral health and more, plus DNA analysis as part of the world's largest twin study, the Netherlands Twins Register (NTR). The Avera Research Institute is home to clinical trials, cancer registries for breast and thyroid tumors, dedicated oncology research nurses, and investigator initiated studies.
Since 2011, Avera has been part of an international trial based in Salzburg, Austria, testing a protocol for women age 41 and over with early stage breast cancer that delivers electron-based intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) at the time of lumpectomy followed by three weeks of external beam radiation therapy, shortening follow-up external beam radiation therapy by three weeks. A new protocol is testing one-time IORT treatment for patients age 60 and over, eliminating the need for additional radiation.
Solid Organ and Bone Marrow Transplant
Avera is home to the region's longest standing kidney transplant program, established in 1993, in addition to pancreas and liver transplant. In 1996, Avera began the region's only Bone Marrow Transplant program, providing both allogeneic and autologous stem cell transplantation.
Continuum of Care
Through its 300 locations, Avera offers the entire continuum of care:
Primary care clinics and rural clinics
Tertiary care center
Critical access hospitals
Specialty heart hospital
Long-term care and retirement communities
Behavioral health outpatient and inpatient care for seniors, adults, adolescents and children