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BND approves loan for new healthcare facility

Posted 2/11/14 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

The financial pieces for a new $57.3 million healthcare facility in Watford City are rapidly falling into place for the McKenzie County Healthcare System.
According to Dan Kelly, CEO of McKenzie County Healthcare Systems, on Jan. 31, 2013, he was informed that the North Dakota Industrial Commission has approved a Bank of North Dakota $12.5 million loan for a replacement facility that would provide for a new 24-bed hospital, clinic and nursing home.
“This one percent, 25-year loan is the first of two loans that we need to help finance the new replacement facility,” states Kelly. “The Bank of North Dakota loan is part of a $50 million loan package that was created by the North Dakota Legislature this past session for healthcare infrastructure in the oil-impacted region of the state.”
The other two financial components of the healthcare system’s financial package, a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan, as well as a local fundraising campaign are also going very well according to Kelly.
“Our USDA application for $28,856,710 is going very well,” states Kelly. “So well, in fact, that the USDA has indicated that they want to use our application as a model that other healthcare projects need to follow.”
The third and final component of the financial package will be for the healthcare system to raise $15.5 million locally.
“In our discussions with the USDA, they have stressed the need for city and county involvement in the project,” states Kelly. “They want to know that both the city and county support the project and are willing to support it financially.”
According to Kelly, the healthcare system is not looking for the city and county to finance the $15.5 million. But rather, the local funding will also come from private individuals and companies.
“The Benefit Fund of the McKenzie County Healthcare Systems will be responsible for our local fundraising effort,” stated Kelly. “And to date, they have already raised over half a million dollars in early commitments.”
The replacement facility will include 47 new private resident rooms, some of which will be designed for couples, at the Good Shepherd Home, a 24-bed critical access hospital and clinic.
“As much as we are building a new facility to replace our aged facilities, we are also building to meet the new demand for healthcare services because of our growing population,” states Kelly.
As part of the new facility, there will be a helipad on the campus, 10 emergency room bays, expanded space for the lab, X-ray and pharmacy departments and two surgical suites. In addition, the new clinic will be designed for eight provider/clinic offices and 18 examination rooms, as well as a speciality clinic that will have four offices and 12 examination rooms.
“Our current clinic only has six examination rooms, and that does not begin to adequately meet the demand for the visits we are receiving,” states Kelly. “Nor does the current clinic have adequate space for the two new physicians that we have hired or the visiting specialists from St. Alexius or Sanford Healthcare.”
According to Kelly, the clinic has been seeing a 20 percent increase in visits over the last year, while emergency room visits at the hospital have been averaging over 550 per month.
Until the new replacement facility is built, we will be adding a temporary modular unit to the existing clinic to better meet the demand.
“We’re trying to meet the great increase we are seeing in the clinic and in the emergency room,” states Kelly.
As the funding sources become final, Kelly anticipates that some site work for the new replacement facility, which will be built on the current campus at the Good Shepherd Home, will begin in the spring.
“Actual construction of the new facility, which will take two years to complete, will begin sometime this summer,” states Kelly.