Missoula will welcome 10 new physicians in July. They will be part of a new residency program at Partnership Health Center in Missoula.
The Center is partnering with Community and St. Patrick Hospitals and the University of Montana.
The new residents have already been selected and will come from all over the country.
Construction is well underway to better accommodate the program, and to serve more clients. Construction of a new addition to a Partnership Health Center's building on Railroad Street should be done in late fall or early winter.
Crews are getting concrete down, and erecting steel that will climb 3 floors.
The new residents and current staff will have more elbow room for the medical and dental clinics, behavioral health, labs and offices. All 10 residents are family physicians just out of medical school.
"At Partnership Health Center they will be working with our clients to provide primary care services," said executive director Kim Mansch. "But they will also be working out in the community. "
They'll be working at the hospitals, said Mansch, and certain specialists.
Partnership provides health services for the poor. It serves 12,000 Missoula-area people a year. 62% of the patients qualify for a sliding fee scale.
Construction is part of a $5 million federal grant that could open up services to 10,000 more people.
"It's a 20,000 square foot new addition," said construction superintendent Eric L. Burns. "We're also completing a 5,000 square foot remodel on the first floor for the Partnership building... the old creamery building."
The new addition will almost double the old Creamery Building in size.
Partnership's building next to the Missoula Health Department will house administration.
There's a shortage of primary care doctors around the country. Kim Mansch said statistics show communities that offer residency program tend to retain those doctors in the community.