What made HealthCenter a reality is two decades of rapid growth in our part of the state, which created an ever-larger pool of people needing some common surgical procedure or diagnostic service. In 1999, Flathead Outpatient Surgical Center which had already expanded once, found its three operating rooms again nearly 100 percent utilized with no room to grow. Northwest Imaging's practice had spread into several satellite locations, and the firm's partners considered building a new free-standing diagnostice imaging center.
Meanwhile, Kalispell Regional Healthcare, who had partnered successfully on Flathead Outpatient Surgical Center's earlier expansion, was developing a five-year plan for the hospital to rebuild infrastructure, revamp operating rooms and labs, and add parking and patient rooms. Eventually, the talks turned to forming a joint venture that would accommodate the area's growth, provide first-rate health care, preserve a high-quality hospital and give medical professionals a larger role in shaping the community's health care system. A 16-member committee researched the situation and considered the possibilities. The goal was to find a way to meet the needs of all the parties and give the community the level of health care it wants and deserves, efficiently and without duplication of expensive technology. The parties developed a framework for what would become The HealthCenter, an alliance of the hospital and the community's medical providers. Nearly 100 local physicians invested in the project, along with Northwest Healthcare.
The HealthCenter opened in 2003.