North Valley Hospital is expanding - officials say they're so busy, they broke ground on a fourth operating suite Monday. Though the new hospital is only six years old, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Matthew Bailey says surgeries are up - an increase of 22 percent over the last four years.
"On the surgery side we've seen more and more surgeons wanting to use this facility," said Bailey, "The demand is definitely increasing."
And it's not just from the Flathead, hospital officials tell me patients are flocking from Lincoln County, even Canada for their care and specialization in minimally invasive surgery.
"North Valley Hospital is so close to the ski mountain that we do see a number of cases that come during mainly tourist season for skiing accidents," said Catherine Todd.
"I think we're all excited," explained Bailey. "I think we were definitely feeling the pressure and demand of the OR growing as far as numbers of cases."
The project is expected to cost over $1,000,000 and is funded by North Valley's cash reserves, leaving the hospital debt free and with the chance to accommodate the ever growing needs of the Flathead and beyond.
"On a community both safety and access standpoint, it's a really nice thing that they're getting a new addition to allow for more cases to be done and also to make sure that there's place available for the obstetric cases to get done," said Bailey.
Hospital officials tell NBC Montana that doctors and nurses will be able to scrub into surgery sometime this fall.