by Suzanne Vernon
For the Pathfinder
November 20, 1997
Medical services continue to reach more people every month at Seeley Lake's reorganized medical center.
According to Dan Reiner, director of Northern Rockies Medical Services which has leased the health care facility since June, the office staff here is busy.
"They've never seen more business," he said, adding that up to 50 new patients a month are now seeking health care at the Seeley Swan Medical Center.
That kind of growth is good, he said, adding that his organization hopes to add physical therapy services at the clinic, and may also look at recruiting a full-time physician sometime in 1998.
Currently, Northern Rockies, a subsidiary of St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, employs two mid-level health care providers here. Missoula physicians from Family Practice Missoula also see patients at the Seeley Lake clinic by appointment.
Reiner indicated that a physician from Washington has also shown an interest in living and working in Seeley Lake.
All in all, the growth is a positive sign, he said, adding that community support has been good. "I'm just tickled pink by everything," he said.
He explained that, as of September 30, Northern Rockies shows a loss of $26,000 for their operations at Seeley Lake. "I look at that number and it doesn't phase me," he said. He noted that the September numbers include hefty start-up costs, and also don't reflect the portion of mill levy income which will be paid to Northern Rockies by the Seeley Swan Hospital District this year.
In other business, the board approved a motion allowing Northern Rockies to proceed with construction and remodeling plans, up to about $175,000, subject to conditions set by local financial institutions, Northern Rockies and the hospital district board. Reiner said that he hopes to open bids in about two weeks. The construction and remodeling will modernize the existing facility, allowing for emergency treatment of patients, and also create an area for physical therapy and possibly other health care services. If funding is approved, and bids are within Northern Rockies budget, construction would begin this winter, Reiner said.