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Billings Clinic pursuing designation as state's only Level I Trauma Center

220324 Englehart billings clinic.jpg
Kayla Desroches
Yellowstone Public Radio
Dr. Mike Englehart speaks at a Billings Clinic event announcing the hospital system's intent to get Level 1 Trauma Center designation.

Montana’s largest hospital system is expanding its resources to become the region’s most comprehensive medical center for injury and trauma care.

Billings Clinic announced Thursday that it’s working toward the highest designation in trauma care, which would make it the first Level I Trauma Center in Montana as well as in Idaho and Wyoming. The closest level I facilities in the mountain west region are in Denver and Salt Lake City, both more than 500 miles from Billings.

The new designation would increase the number of patients Billings Clinic can treat. It would also decrease the time it takes a patient to reach treatment, saidc surgeon and Medical Director of Trauma Services Mike Englehart.

“And really, when we’re talking about trauma, what matters is time to definitive care,” he said. “That’s the goal.”

Billings Clinic has launched a $30 million capital campaign to expand its emergency department and operating rooms, add 56 new beds and establish a new surgical intensive care unit among other improvements.