With the financing secured, ground could be broken as early as this fall on a new $2.16 million clinic in Forsyth.
Construction of the new 7,776-square-foot clinic will be made possible with a loan from USDA Rural Development, a grant from the Montana Coal Board, and a loan from the Range Telephone Cooperative.
The new facility, a component of Rosebud Health Care Center, will have three providers and 12 exam rooms. It also will have an additional room for a visiting specialist such as a mental health provider, a separate room for minor procedures, and it will be equipped to accommodate the growing use of telemedicine.
The clinic will be near the entrance of the hospital, making it convenient for patients.
Currently, when patients are seen in the clinic and more tests are needed, they leave the clinic and are checked into the hospital for things like X-rays and labwork. Patients then return to the clinic. The new clinic will be close to the lab and radiology.
The clinic's location also will enhance patient care in the emergency room and hospital because medical providers will be in the hub of the organization, said CEO Ryan Tooke.
One of the lesser-known issues, but most troublesome, at the facility has been the laundry services.
The laundry is in the basement of the existing clinic. The only access to the basement is via ramps that are not ADA compliant, which has posed a safety hazard for the facility that launders about 24,000 pounds each month for itself and the VA nursing home in Miles City.
"This facility is growing," said Tooke, who has been at the facility for five years and CEO for the past two. "It means we're forward-thinking. We're staying current on technology and medical practices. We're anchoring ourselves in the community."
Tooke worked closely with Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., to secure the USDA Rural Development loan.
"This is a smart investment that will help put Montanans to work during construction, but will also support and strengthen health care in Forsyth and the surrounding communities," Baucus said.
"I'm pleased to see folks in Forsyth able to use this tool to make Montana a healthier place to live, work and raise a family."
It will also have a ripple effect in the community of 1,900.
In addition to the health of residents, the community's economy stands to get a significant boost. For every health care job in a rural community, between 0.32 and 0.77 more jobs are created in a local economy, spurred by the spending of either hospitals or their employees, according to a study by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Office of Rural Health.