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New Southwest Healthcare Services hospital has grand opening in Bowman

BOWMAN--Bowman residents finally got the chance to check out their new medical center on Wednesday night with the grand opening of the Southwest Healthcare Services' hospital.

The new Southwest Healthcare Services' hospital wraps around its existing long-term care, placing everything under one roof. (Sydney Mook / The Dickinson Press)
The new Southwest Healthcare Services' hospital wraps around its existing long-term care, placing everything under one roof. (Sydney Mook / The Dickinson Press)

BOWMAN-Bowman residents finally got the chance to check out their new medical center on Wednesday night with the grand opening of the Southwest Healthcare Services' hospital.

The new hospital wraps around Southwest Healthcare's existing long-term care facility, placing everything under one roof. The approximately $28.5 million hospital, which has 23 beds, was a longtime dream for the staff and the city of Bowman, with $2 million donated by the county and $500,000 donated by the city through a city sales tax that has been in place since the 1990s.

The hospital offers multiple services, including: a rural health clinic, hospital and emergency services, an ambulance service, rehabilitation therapy, laboratory and radiology services; and independent and assisted-living facilities. Staff will begin providing mental health services to the area beginning on July 6.

Project architect John McLean said it has been a long road leading up to the opening of the hospital. He and his family first came to Bowman in 2011 when his youngest son was a newborn; he's now a first grader, McLean noted with a laugh.

It took a lot of people to make the project happen, McLean said, noting there were good days and bad days throughout its entirety, but they now have a "beautiful" building for health care services.

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"I think it's important that we remember the people that come behind us and why we do projects like this," he said. "We want to make a statement that health care is here to stay in Bowman. Bowman is a vital and essential community, you're going to have health care services and we hope that you have a beautiful building that stands the test of time."

The hospital has been open for business since May 1, said Allison Engelhart, Southwest Healthcare's marketing director. There has been a steady stream of patients since then.

"We're really excited," Engelhart said. "There's been a few things we've had to work through in the new building, but it's been so wonderful."

Along with the new hospital, Southwest Healthcare Services also was able to get new equipment, something Engelhart said the doctors and nurses are particularly excited about.

The hospital also has a new interim CEO, John Osse, following the recent resignation of former CEO Becky Hansen. Osse has over 40 years of experience in rural health care and said many small communities would "give their right arm" to accomplish what Bowman has.

"I would not hesitate to come here for my own health care or that of my family and that's one way I judge a facility," he said.

Lyn James, president of the Bowman City Commission, said Southwest Healthcare Services plays a key role in the economic health and well-being of the city and the county. It is the city's largest employer.

"Health care is a significant piece of the puzzle that makes a great community," James said during Wednesday's grand opening. "It is an important recruiting tool when someone is deciding to locate here, whether it be to start a business, to buy a business or to take a job here."

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James is the third of four generations who are supporters of health care in Bowman. Her grandfather played a "significant role" in the fundraising for St. Luke's hospital and her grandmother played an active role in the development of the city's long-term health care facility. She said she and her parents and family are also big supporters of the health care industry.

"The city of Bowman is proud to have Southwest Healthcare Services as a leadership partner in this community," James said. "We are grateful for the many generous people and funding entities who made this project a reality."

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