Montana Health News

Feb 15, 2013 8:21 PM by Dax VanFossen - KAJ News

Kalispell hospital VP feels targeted by new bill

KALISPELL - Rep. Ron Ehli, of Hamilton, has proposed a bill that aims to protect smaller health care facilities from their larger counterparts, but a representative of Kalispell Regional Medical Center say the bill doesn't have merit.

Ehli, a Republican, is asking for state review of new surgery centers, primarily in Lake, Ravalli and Silver Bow counties.

Ehli says small hospitals like those in Ronan or Polson would be greatly affected by a new outpatient surgery center owned by KRMC.

But Kalispell Regional Vice President Jim Oliverson says the bill truly has no merit because KRMC is not opening a surgery center, but simply expanding its current capacity.

"There has been the suggestion that, we're looking at setting up a surgery center in Polson," Oliverson said. "I have seen the plans for the proposed clinic, because frankly the clinic we are in right now, it's a good problem, is we're growing out of space.

"So we're looking at relocating into a larger clinic, attempting to partner with some of the providers in Polson. But as I look at those plans, there's no indication that there's going to be a surgery center," he added.

Oliverson said he hasn't heard any complaints about the system. He added there's some worry in areas of eastern Montana that larger hospitals are looking to set up surgery centers to take advantage of the oil field boom, but says KRMC is not among those groups.

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