Posted 9/29/15 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
Northland Community Health Center is on the verge of opening a new clinic in Ray.
The city commission approved the facility’s permit at the last commission meeting earlier this month. The approval comes at the end of a series of hurdles the non-profit had to clear before it could bring the plans to fruition, including securing funding and a location for the operation.
The new facility will have four exam rooms, three dental bays, and provide behavioral health services.
Northland is putting $600,000 into the 4,000-square foot renovation project, which will be located at the Ray Mall.
The Ray location will add to several the non-profit healthcare provider operates throughout North Dakota, including Turtle Lake, Bowbells, and Minot.
Last May, the organization was awarded a New Access Point grant through the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.
The award comes to $650,000 per year for two years, and if the clinic is successful at meeting its objectives, they will have the option of continued funding through the federal program.
Northland CEO Patrick Butler said the clinic is expecting operational revenues of $900,000 to $1 million. He stressed these are only projections based on available census data.
The clinic will also be of great value to the Ray Mall, which recently lost a café and continues to try to fill vacancies.
Dean Rustad, who is on the mall board, said the clinic will provide some needed cash flow for the mall, which will help it meet maintenance needs.
The impact the clinic would have on Tioga Medical Center is a concern for others in Ray. They provide clinic services one to three times a week in Ray.
Rustad said he is grateful for the services TMC provided, but Ray could benefit from a clinic open five days a week in Ray.
Tioga Medical Center “has been there for years. We appreciate their service and we’ll continue to support that,” he said.
Butler said Northland has met with TMC to look for ways they could best work together to address healthcare needs in the community.
“We will try to work with them as much as possible,” Butler said.
Mayor Ken Munson said he’s excited about the clinic and hopes the two healthcare entities can find ways to work “hand in hand” to provide healthcare in the area.
“I think it’s a great benefit to the community,” Munson said.
He said the non-profit has been diligent in their communications with the city as plans for the facility developed since they announced their intentions to open a clinic in Ray last fall.
“It shows they’re coming into this community to be a part of it. It’s not a fly-by-night kind of thing,” Munson said.
The clinic hopes to complete all the renovations of the mall space by Jan. 1. Though, if possible, Butler said they may try to begin providing some services sooner than that.