Lost Rivers Medical Center in Arco in a partnership with Bingham Memorial Hospital is breaking ground on a state-of-the-art surgical suite in an attempt to increase access to high quality surgical services for the residents of Butte and Custer County.
The nearest hospital that provides surgical care is more than hour away from LRMC so hospital staff say this day was long time coming.
"This is historic,” said Brad Huerta, Lost Rivers Medical Center CEO. “We have been waiting 20 years for this day to get here, and a little rain wasn't going to stop us, we are so grateful to finally be in the position we are to make this a reality."
The surgical wing expansion is just another example of how far this "Tiny Hospital That Could" has come.
In 2013 the hospital was in danger of closing its doors but now it is setting the example of other rural health centers across the county.
"Lost Rivers Medical Center was the poster child for everything that was wrong with rural health care and everything that was wrong with rural hospitals," says Huerta.
The hospital survived and secured financing to help pay for advanced technology, upgraded facilities and expanded their services.
The passion of the staff at LRMC also played a major factor in keeping the doors open for their small community.
"People coming together to take care of other people that we honestly know and care about, so it's been really great," said Dr. Orie Browne, Chief Medical Staff.
While LRMC continues to grow other rural hospitals struggle as 78 hospitals have closed across the country since 2010.
Despite those haunting numbers the little brick hospital tucked away in the mountains of Arco will continue to provide health care to their community.
"Some of these services are critical and important so the fact that we are able to do more to help people out and take care of them is great."
Lost Rivers Medical Center hopes to being construction of phase one of their surgical suite in the next couple of weeks and they hope to complete the entire project in 18 months.