Williston celebrates opening of two medical facilities

WILLISTON, N.D. -- Two competing medical centers will operate across the street from one another in Williston, but they consider each other partners not rivals to serve the booming region.

Medical facilities
Amy Dalrymple/Forum Communications Mercy Medical Center CEO Matt Grimshaw (center) and Williston Mayor Ward Koeser, second from left, and others celebrate the opening of The BirthPlace at Mercy & Outpatient Surgery Center. The 40,000-square-foot facility was built to meet the needs of the growing community.

WILLISTON, N.D. -- Two competing medical centers will operate across the street from one another in Williston, but they consider each other partners not rivals to serve the booming region.

Mercy Medical Center and Trinity Health each held grand opening ceremonies Tuesday for new facilities.

Mercy will begin serving patients in late October in its $20 million BirthPlace at Mercy & Outpatient Surgery Center.

Minot-based Trinity Health recently opened the $10.5 million Trinity Health-Western Dakota clinic.

"We need both facilities with the influx of population right now," said Theresia Swartout, director of Trinity's Williston clinic. "It's going to take all of us to serve all of the patients."


Mercy, which is owned by Catholic Health Initiatives, expects to deliver 800 babies next year, up from 300 births per year the hospital saw in Williston before oil activity brought thousands of new residents to the area.

"As we look around, we find ourselves in the fastest-growing region in America," Grimshaw said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony as traffic bustled by the highway that separates the two facilities. "The health care needs here are growing just as fast."

The 40,000-square-foot Mercy addition features three state-of-the art operating rooms with room to add a fourth. It also will house the only hospital-based outpatient birthing facility in the northwest United States, with suites equipped with jetted tubs, fireplaces and sleeper sofas.

In addition to serving patients, the new facility also will be a recruiting and retention tool for employees, Grimshaw said.

"We are aggressively recruiting all across the country for the OR and OB staff," Grimshaw said. "We have enough staff to open, but not as many as we'd like."

The same day staff move into the new building, crews will begin on a project to double the size of the emergency room, said Grimshaw, who has called Mercy the nation's fastest-growing hospital. Mercy also is building a new cancer center.

Meanwhile, Mercy officials also are working to expand the clinic services and develop a long-term housing solution for employees, he said.

Grimshaw, who attended Trinity's ribbon-cutting ceremony, said he's pleased Trinity is expanding even though they compete on some services.


"Together, we're meeting the primary care needs of the region," Grimshaw said. "It's a very big day for Williston."

The 60,000-square-foot Trinity facility replaces two existing clinics -- Trinity Community Clinic-Western Dakota and Trinity Regional Eyecare-Western Dakota. The center also houses a retail vision center and outpatient surgery and will add occupational medicine in the future.

The new facility can accommodate new doctors and also has more space for visiting doctors.

Trinity Health CEO and President John Kutch said the new facility means patients will no longer have to leave Williston to see specialists.

The clinic was completed with a $5.5 million loan from the USDA Rural Development agency

Williston Mayor Ward Koeser said the city is building a reputation as a regional medical center, which will help the community attract new families.

Dalrymple is a Forum Communications Co. reporter stationed in the Oil Patch. Forum Communications Co. owns the Daily Globe.

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