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New $13 million clinic opens on Rocky Boy's Reservation

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ROCKY BOY, Mont. (AP) - A new $13 million medical center opened March 27 on the Rocky Boy's Reservation.

The 56,000-square-foot Na-Toose Healing Center has more than twice as much space as the old facility and contains more exam rooms. It also has updated equipment, optometry and dental facilities, and a triage unit.

''This is going to help immensely, not only help with quality but quantity as well,'' said Dr. James Eastlick, a 10-year veteran of the clinic. ''Patient flow will also improve.''

Previously, some of the clinic's programs were scattered throughout the community in separate buildings.

''We're all under one roof now,'' said Fawn Tadios, clinic director and CEO of the Rocky Boy Health Board, which manages the facility. ''It's convenient for the patients to have everything right here.''

Tadios added that the clinic will be switching to electronic health records by the end of the summer, which will speed up service.

The Chippewa Cree Tribal Council started fund raising for the new project four years ago with a $2 million investment. Grant writers raised several million more. A U.S. Department of Agriculture loan covered the rest, with help from the IHS, Tadios said.

Construction began about two years ago.

The clinic and adjacent wellness center will work together to help patients take advantage of preventive measures to help fight the higher-than-normal rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and alcoholism seen on most reservations, Eastlick said.

About 6,500 American Indians in the Rocky Boy area are eligible for services at the health center, which is named after a medicine man from the tribe.

A grand opening was scheduled for April 10.