McKenzie County Healthcare Systems in partnership with USDA Rural Development will break ground today on a new medical campus in Watford City. The project will construct a 120,000-square-foot building that will combine the hospital, clinic and long-term care facility in to one central location.
“Building out our health care infrastructure in the Bakken has been a top priority to support population growth,” said Jasper Schneider, USDA Rural Development state director. “But this project is more than just a new building; it reflects a regional commitment to support families, workers, and makes it more viable for seniors to stay in the area.”
McKenzie County is the fastest growing non-metropolitan county in the nation because of energy development. As the population continues to increase, added pressure is being put on local health care facilities. Emergency room visits in Watford City are up five times from 2006 levels. The aging and undersized 1950s-era hospital can no longer provide timely, first-rate care to patients.
Through the community facilities program, USDA has conditionally approved a loan for $39.2 million, which will finance about 70 percent of the project. Additional financing will be provided through the Medical Infrastructure Loan program administered by the Bank of North Dakota and from McKenzie County Healthcare Systems.
The new medical campus will be a two-story structure attached to the east and north ends of the existing long-term care facility. With all services located under one roof, there will be numerous operational efficiencies, patient benefits and plenty of space for state-of-the-art equipment. The new hospital will maintain the same number of inpatient beds at 25, but will expand outpatient capacity and increase from one to eight emergency room bays. The clinic will include 18 exam rooms and the 47-bed nursing home will have all private rooms to accommodate the changing level of care for residents.
Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has financed more than $178 million in rural North Dakota health care projects. To learn more, read the USDA Rural Health Report at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/ND_RuralHealthReport.pdf.