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Published September 13, 2012, 09:13 AM

Two new medical facilities opening in Williston

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Two competing medical centers held grand opening ceremonies for new Williston facilities on the same day this week across the street from one another consider themselves partners, not rivals, in serving the booming oil patch region.

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Two competing medical centers held grand opening ceremonies for new Williston facilities on the same day this week across the street from one another consider themselves partners, not rivals, in serving the booming oil patch region.

Minot-based Trinity Health opened its $10.5 million Trinity Health-Western Dakota clinic on Tuesday, and Williston-based Mercy Medical Center will begin serving patients in late October in its $20 million Birthplace at Mercy & Outpatient Surgery Center, The Forum newspaper reported.

"We need both facilities with the influx of population right now," said Theresia Swartout, director of Trinity's Williston clinic. "It's going to take all of us to serve all of the patients."

Mercy, which is owned by Catholic Health Initiatives, expects to deliver 800 babies in Williston next year, up from the 300 births per year the hospital saw before oil activity brought thousands of people from around the country to the area in search of jobs.

"As we look around, we find ourselves in the fastest-growing region in America," Mercy CEO Matthew Grimshaw said. "The health care needs here are growing just as fast."

The 40,000-square-foot Mercy addition features three operating rooms with room to add a fourth. It also will house an outpatient birthing facility with suites equipped with tubs, fireplaces and sleeper sofas.

In addition to serving patients, the new facility also will be a recruiting and retention tool for employees, Grimshaw said.

"We are aggressively recruiting all across the country," Grimshaw said. "We have enough staff to open, but not as many as we'd like."

The 60,000-square-foot Trinity facility replaces two existing clinics. The center also houses a retail vision center and outpatient surgery and will add occupational medicine in the future. Trinity Health CEO John Kutch said the new facility means patients will no longer have to leave Williston to see specialists.

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