DEER LODGE - The newly expanded treatment center at the Deer Lodge Medical Center has a simple goal: To give patients big-city treatment while keeping that personalized small-town care.
“Our primary care providers know their patients by their first name. They see them at local grocery stores, at local events, they’re there,” said Chief Operating Officer Jaena Richards.
The hospital, which moved to its current location in 2011, just completed its second expansion in that time with the opening of the new outpatient clinic at a cost of about $7 million. This includes a new cancer treatment center, where patients now meet with an oncologist and receive chemotherapy infusions onsite.
“It is certainly better for the patients because they don’t have to travel to get their treatments. Often times the chemotherapy treatments can cause you to have nausea, vomiting, just not feeling very well,” said Chief Nursing Officer Andy Beck.
They also have telemedicine capabilities where they can speak to an oncologist who is in Utah via this cart. They can take a cart right to the patient, they can see the physician on a screen, and they have a camera where the physician can see the patient and deal with them directly.
“We’re receiving a lot of great feedback and they are good programs here and people are appreciative that they are in their community,” said Beck.
Richards has been with the hospital for 31 years and remembers working in the former building when they could barely make the budget. She says the new hospital is thriving and is anticipating even further expansion.
“We’ve gone from basically not having much at all to really expanding in every area,” she said.
Deer Lodge boasts of having the second hospital in the state behind Helena, which was established in 1873.