New Bullhook Clinic location is set

Havre Daily News

by Tim Leeds

Federal grant to build center across from city hall approved

Several months after a $5 million grant to move a Hill County medical clinic was approved, Bullhook Community Health Center has a location to put the clinic.

U. S. Sen. Jon Tester announced that the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Monday approved the location Bullhook had requested, at 5th Avenue and 4th Street across from Havre City Hall, the police station and fire department.

“Bullhook Community Health Center’s new downtown location will make it even more accessible for folks along the Hi-Line, ” Tester said this morning. “I proudly supported Bullhook’s expansion and look forward to seeing the clinic grow, create good jobs, and serve even more folks across northern Montana with quality health care. “

Cindy Smith, executive director of Bullhook Community Health Center, was at a conference in Florida and could not be reached for comment this morning.

The plan is to use equity funding to purchase the property, now a vacant lot, the Brandon Building and the building that had housed Heberly Engineering. The $4,957,921 grant will be used to tear down the existing building and erect a new facility to house the medical, dental and mental health services offered by Bullhook, now housed in different locations.

The original application proposed using the grant to lease, renovate and repair Donaldson Hall at Montana State University-Northern and put all of Bullhook’s services there. That grant application was written while Northern was under the leadership of an interim counselor, and a commissioner of higher education who has since retired.

After the grant approval was announced May 1, Commissioner of Higher Education Jason Christian and Northern Chancellor Jim Limbaugh denied the request to lease Donaldson, for reasons including that leasing the building for 40 years or more for non-university programs did not fit the institution’s long-range plans.

Bullhook opened in 2005 as part of the Hill County Health Department, offering medical services to the region including using a sliding-fee scale for low-income people.

Since then, it has reformed as a private nonprofit with medical services offered in a clinic next to Northern Montana Hospital, added dental services and started offering mental health care.