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With ever-increasing growth in the Gallatin Valley, Bozeman Health is expanding its urgent and primary care facilities in Bozeman and Belgrade.

The health system will begin construction on two more b2 UrgentCare locations in the coming months in Belgrade and northwest Bozeman. Another clinic will open on Cottonwood and Huffine in April and a new primary care clinic at the Montana State University athletic complex will open this fall for faculty, staff and student athletes.

During a press conference Thursday, several Bozeman Health officials said they needed to keep up with the area’s increasing population.

“In southwest Montana as we’ve all seen and experienced the growth of Bozeman and the surrounding areas, the importance of each person having a primary care provider is evident to help sustain health and wellness,” said Dr. Anna Beers, a family medicine physician with Bozeman Health.

The two new urgent care clinics will cost roughly $6 million and will each have a staff of 15 people, Bozeman Health CEO John Hill said. The Belgrade location will be built at an existing clinic location. A primary care office will remain in the existing building.

Bozeman Health may expand the location on North 19th Avenue to include primary care or other services in the future, Hill said.

“As we continue to see these growth numbers coming to our communities, we feel it’s our obligation and our duty to continue to plan for additional expansion,” Hill said.

Construction on both facilities is set to start this summer or fall, according to a press release, with opening planned for fall 2022. The system already has b2 UrgentCare locations on Main Street and in Big Sky.

The Bozeman Health Cottonwood Clinic and Surgery Center scheduled to open in April will have imaging and laboratory services, Hill said. The facility will also have an ambulatory surgery clinic.

Increasing primary care access was identified as a need in a recent community health needs assessment. Dr. Michael Vlases said the area’s growth hasn’t just necessitated more need for primary care, but an increase in urgent care needs as well.

“Certainly we’ve seen in the last year, the volume of people coming here who may not be planning to live here, but are here for an extended period,” Vlases said. “We need both of these kind of services available for them.”

Dr. Todd Harris, Bozeman Health system physician director of retail health and medical director for urgent cares said urgent care can help bridge patients to primary care.

Bozeman Health facilities all use the same electronic records to share patient information.

“Basically what we are is we’re a landing spot for people to come into our healthcare system, and then we can get them to where they need to go,” Harris said. “What we like to do in the urgent care setting is when people come in for an urgent problem and they don’t have a primary care physician or they need more follow up, then we have the ability to make that appointment for them or to get them to the right care area.”

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Nora Shelly can be reached at nshelly@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2607.

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