Faced with serving an aging Montana population, Community Medical Center has become the latest health facility in Western Montana to make a major investment in being able to treat patients facing problems from heart disease.

And when the newest additions come online in Missoula it will offer additional state-of-the-art services and more room to not only care for patients but also for critical support operations such as testing and labs.

CMC, which is a part of Lifepoint Health, broke ground on the new and expanded heart and vascular center this month, kicking off a 17.9 million dollar investment in cardiovascular care in Montana.

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Meeting the needs of an aging population

CMC leaders say the decision to go ahead with the project is another step in recognition of Montana's aging population, both from native Montanans and people moving here to retire.

"The population in Western Montana is not just getting older, it's also expected to grow among those 65+ and older over the next 10 years," notes CMC Chief Executive Officer Bob Gomes. "We want to be prepared to care for these patients by ensuring easy access to cardiologists and providing the latest technology for life-saving care, all in a comfortable environment."

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A lot more space

The plans include a renovation and a new 19,015 square foot expansion which will include two cardiac "cath labs", a dozen exam rooms, and expanded areas for the clinic.

The new center will be located next to the current heart and vascular center on the Community Medical Center campus off South Avenue. It will also include the latest tech, such as a non-invasive cardiovascular diagnostic testing area.

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That's all in keeping with CMC's partnership with Billings Clinic Heart and Vascular to provide full-time "interventional and non-invasive" care. That also includes 24/7 heart attack, or STEMI coverage, electrophysiology, and cardiac ultrasounds. Preventative care, including management of chronic heart conditions, is also provided at clinics in Deer Lodge, Polson, Ronan, Superior, and Stevensville.

CMC is the only hospital in Western Montana that is an Accredited Chest Pain Center by the American College of Cardiology.

The new center should be in service in little over a year.

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