'High Noon' for health care in Helena? St. Peter's CEO warns of 'out-of-town' providers; Benefis says it is bringing new options

Phil Drake

Wade Johnson, chief executive officer for St. Peter’s Health, wore his Carroll College sweatshirt to a recent meeting of the grassroots group Hometown Helena.

He wanted to discuss the struggle between “raiders” and “collaborators.”

But maybe what resonated with many listeners in the room was what he didn’t say: Not once did he use the “B” word, or Benefis, which was the proverbial elephant in the room.

Johnson’s comments came as the shadow of Benefis Health System, a Great Falls-based health care juggernaut, continues to loom ever larger in Helena.

It appears it’s “High Noon” for health care in Helena.

Last year, Benefis opened an urgent care clinic by the Helena Regional Airport and recently opened an office in the Great Northern Town Center that will offer internal medicine and gastroenterology care and operates a free-standing MRI imaging facility on the city’s northside.

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Representatives of Benefis Health System ceremonially break ground at the site of their new health care facility.

THOM BRIDGE, Independent Record

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