The CEO of one of the largest Dakota health systems leaves his post after days of workTo staff about his recovery from And immunize him from the disease. Sanford Health’s Board of Trustees announced Tuesday that it has “mutually agreed to separate” with longtime president and CEO Kilby Crabenhovet.
The 62-year-old told employees in an email on Wednesday that he will not wear a mask to the office because he has recovered from the Coronavirus and is therefore immune, according to the Associated Press. Krappenhoft, who is not a doctor, reportedly told staff that he was immune to the virus “for at least seven months and possibly years to come” – a statement that is not backed by science.
“For me, wearing a mask challenges the effectiveness and purpose of the mask and sends an insincere message that I am at risk of infection or could transmit it,” Krabbenhoft wrote in the email, according to the Associated Press. “I have no interest in using masks as a symbolic gesture … my team and we have a duty to express the truth, facts and reality and not feed the other way around.”
Krabbenhoft has already said that it is important for those who have not contracted COVID-19 to wear masks, and they write, “It’s important for them to know that masks are easy to use and of their best interest.”
Krabbenhoft also made headlines recently for sparring with his medical director about the severity of the pandemic. “It’s hard for me to say we’re in a crisis,” he told CBS News reporter David Pignaud – but when the medical director, Dr. Alison Satellite, was asked if she would describe the situation as a crisis, she replied, “It will be.”
Krabbenhoft’s comments come as North and South Dakota states are grappling with a sharp escalation in coronavirus cases. As of Monday, South Dakota has seen more hospitalizations from COVID-19 and deaths per person than any other state. In North Dakota, hospitals are so overwhelmed this month that the governor issued an order permitting healthcare workersCoronavirus, but not showing symptoms, to continue working.
Krabbenhoft had previously said it would retire within 18 months, after announcing the merger with Intermountain Healthcare of Utah, according to CBS’s KELO-TV. In an interview with The Station on Tuesday, Krappenhoft said he would leave the company early due to how successful it was.
“If there’s ever been a time for a guy to go through what I’ve been through, it’s a great time to say goodbye to him,” he said.
Sanford Health – which is based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota – has 46 hospitals and more than 200 clinics in the Midwest, according to its website. KELO-TV stated that when the merger is complete, the company will have 70 hospitals and employ nearly 90,000 people.