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The rapidly increasing number of new COVID-19 cases in Montana and Wyoming is resulting in more people requiring inpatient hospital care. To allow Billings Clinic to open additional hospital bed space as inpatient volumes surge, St. John’s United is making available to the health care system a twelve-unit building that was vacated in March for such use if needed. Billings Clinic will temporarily use rooms at St. John’s United’s Billings West End location to house and care for less acute hospital patients. As an off-campus Billings Clinic unit, it will become operational on Friday with Billings Clinic staff caring for 10-12 patients.

Patients transferred to this unit will not have active COVID-19 infection. Teams from the clinic side of Billings Clinic operations have committed to help staff this unit so that hospital teams can continue providing care in their units as much as possible. In addition, Billings Clinic’s geriatric provider group will assist with coverage and care.

“We are incredibly grateful to St. John’s United for their support and partnership,” said Billings CEO Dr. Scott Ellner. “This helps our amazing, dedicated staff serve our patients and communities.”

St. John’s United is a human services organization that includes retirement living and health and human services - including rehabilitation and transitional care, and physical and occupational therapy - for older adults. It is currently made up of a family of campuses with locations in Red Lodge, Laurel, Hamilton, Billings Heights and Billings West End.

“This is a community problem needing community solutions. Any positive activity that any organization or any individual can do to mitigate spread will reduce the need for unorthodox actions such as this.” said David Trost, President and CEO of St. John’s United.

Ensuring the space and staffing to care for patients is a top priority at Billings Clinic during this high capacity time, and St. John’s United has partnered with Billings Clinic for many years. Such partnerships such are common across the country and have become even more important as health care organizations step outside of normal operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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