HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Six firms have submitted bids to operate a proposed health care clinic for state employees in Helena.

The companies had until Monday afternoon to submit proposals for the clinic, which Gov. Brian Schweitzer believes can help decrease the cost of primary health care.

Lee Newspapers of Montana reports state officials plan to score the proposals this month. The administration has asked that the clinic be open by Aug. 31.

Schweitzer says the clinic would serve about 11,000 state workers and be funded with as much as $55 million in reserves from the state employee health plan.

The in-state bidders include Cooperative Health Center, which operates a nonprofit clinic in Helena and MiCare of Montana, a company controlled by EBMS, a health benefits-management firm based in Billings.