Former Sanford Health CEO, Kelby Krabbenhoft – who is not a physician – left his leadership position at the multi-state health system last year after e-mailing all employees claiming that he didn’t need to wear a mask on the job in the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic. This was extremely controversial and upsetting to the employees who’d been fighting the virus in the trenches for months. Other Sanford Health executives disavowed Krabbenhoft’s bizarre claims.

Now we know that Krabbenhoft received a WHOPPING $49.5 million after his departure. Overall, Health Care CEOs raked in over $1 billion in annual compensation while 1-in-5 Americans currently struggle with medical debt.

Ever since strapping on his golden parachute, Krabbenhoft has spent $8,500 on Republicans in congress and right-wing PACs to preserve this perverse system – and that’s probably just the beginning! Previously, he’s donated at least $10,000 to Kristi Noem, whom Rolling Stone called “The Covid Queen of South Dakota”

Meanwhile, rural hospitals in North Dakota are having to fly COVID-19 patients nearly 300 miles to get care in Fargo because they are “bursting at the seams.” Our rural hospitals are already egregiously underfunded and suffer from a lack of doctors to help with intensive care patients.

A health care cost study conducted prior to the pandemic found that North Dakota is near the top for hospital expenses, hospital stays, hospital revenue, and hospital utilization. Even Insurance Commissioner Godfread conceded that “it costs more to receive health care in North Dakota than just about anywhere else.” Former Senator Byron Dorgan alluded to the costs being passed off to taxpayers and patients as he slammed the Krabbenhoft payoff. 

Krabbenhoft’s tenure was also beset with a series of federal investigations and lawsuits, which ultimately led to Sanford Health agreeing to pay a $20.25 million False Claims Act settlement in 2019. In 2013, Sanford paid out $625,000 to settle allegations of an illicit kickback scheme involving the very same neurosurgeon implicated in the US Justice Department’s False Claims Act investigation.

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