Billings Clinic to open new 28-bed Immediate Care Unit

The new unit will increase the hospital’s capacity to care for more complex and longer-term patients

By: - June 3, 2022 6:20 pm

The entrance to the Billings Clinic Commons in Billings (Photo by Darrell Ehrlick of the Daily Montanan).

Billings Clinic is set to open its new Immediate Care Unit to patients on June 6.

Opening the 28-bed unit will increase the hospital’s capacity to care for more complex and longer-term patients in a “modern, healing and state-of-the-art” way, the hospital said in a Friday press release. It is the first unit to be built and completed in Billings Clinic’s construction of two new floors of planned patient beds.

“The Intermediate Care Unit is a new resource for our patients in a beautiful space that meets their specific needs,” Billings Clinic CEO Scott Ellner said in the release. “It delivers on a promise Billings Clinic made several years ago to expand beds in our hospital to meet the growing needs of thousands of patients from across our region. We are incredibly excited and honored to open this new unit.”

The 30,00-square-foot unit will provide care for high-acuity needs and serve as a bridge between the Intensive Care Unit and medical and surgical inpatient units.

According to the release, Billings Clinic is currently the busiest trauma center in Montana and Wyoming and recently announced its intent to become a Level I Trauma Center. The opening of the IMC will further efforts on the Level I Trauma journey while attracting additional care staff and freeing up space in other inpatient units. As a Level I Trauma Center, Billings Clinic will provide the care and resources to treat every type of injury, no matter how serious, at any time.

It will serve patients for a wide range of medical diagnoses, including sepsis, diabetic ketoacidosis, complex wounds, neurological conditions that require frequent monitoring, COVID-19 patients or those in respiratory distress, and tracheostomies and/or chronic ventilator use. The unit can also provide ICU-level monitoring for patients as needed, according to the release.

“We have a team of highly-skilled, well-trained, adaptable, and compassionate people to take care of patients whenever they need us,” Jennifer Macks, RN, the new unit’s manager, said in the release. “We know that we’re going to care for a wide range of people, and we’re ready for that. This unit fills a real need with a dedicated space for patients who are between needing critical care services and medical or surgical inpatient care.”

Over the last two years, COVID-19 has strained hospitals that often have minimal beds available. The new unit will ease those pressures, according to the release.

“It is an adaptable and modern space that helps to relieve pressure and open up space in the ICU and other inpatient units,” the release read.

“We’ve seen an increase in the acuity of our inpatients over the last two years, and the Intermediate Care Unit will provide more space to care for many of them,” said Christy Baxter, RN, Billings Clinic Director of Critical Care. “It’s a shift in how we look at critical care, from a single unit to a division within our hospital that works together to meet the needs of our patients.”

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Keith Schubert
Keith Schubert

Keith Schubert is a reporter for the Daily Montanan. Keith was born and raised in Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2019. He has worked at the St.Paul Pioneer Press, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and most recently, the Asbury Park Press, covering everything from local craft fairs to crime and courts to municipal government to the Minnesota state legislature. In his free time, he enjoys cheering on Wisconsin sports teams and exploring small businesses. He can be reached by text or call at 406-475-2954 .