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Published on December 15, 2021

Big Horn Hospital Association in Hardin signs Letter of Intent to affiliate with Billings Clinic

HARDIN, MT – Big Horn Hospital Association announced it has signed a Letter of Intent to pursue a formal affiliation and clinical partnership with Billings Clinic, strengthening their focus on collaborative local health care with a trusted partner.

As the region’s largest health care organization, Billings Clinic brings deep experience in rural health care.  Once the affiliation agreement is complete, Big Horn Hospital Association will join 17 other Billings Clinic affiliates across Montana and Wyoming. 

“We are excited to work together with Billings Clinic to provide trusted, hometown care to our community and to strengthen our health care services to keep our patients close to home,” said Kristi Gatrell, Big Horn Hospital CEO. “Our Big Horn Hospital staff is looking forward to the valued support that Billings Clinic will bring to provide the highest quality care.”

Affiliation includes the opportunity to be part of Billings Clinic’s integrated, shared electronic medical record providing efficient and streamlined communication and easy, safe access to information for clinical staff to optimize care for patients. Billings Clinic will also provide support for quality and patient safety, human resources, compliance services, physician/provider recruitment, and collaboration to enhance specialty care services locally. These areas of focus are intended to help coordinate care and keep patients close to home whenever possible.

“The Big Horn Hospital Association and Billings Clinic have a strong relationship that goes back more than 20 years, and we are excited to take this next step,” said Dr. Clint Seger, Billings Clinic’s Regional Chief Medical Officer. “Our core values of providing safe, high-quality care align, and we look forward to working together even more closely to increase clinical services while advancing patient care in the community and surrounding areas. Sustaining and growing health care services locally is a dedicated area of focus for Billings Clinic.” 

Billings Clinic is an independent, not for profit, physician-led and community governed organization that is affiliated with the Mayo Clinic as a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

Work is underway to formalize the affiliation agreement which is expected to be complete by spring of 2022.


In 1959, the community of Hardin opened its present hospital, Big Horn Hospital (formerly known as Big Horn County Memorial Hospital). In 1974, a 34 bed nursing home was constructed by Big Horn County and attached to the existing hospital. In 1982, Big Horn Senior Living (formerly known as Heritage Acres Nursing Home complex) was built with 36 long term care beds and 20 independent living apartments. Due to public request for diversity in geriatric services, in 1999 Big Horn Senior Living would convert 10 independent living rooms to assisted living units. In response to increased medical needs in the community, the Big Horn Hospital Association constructed a new clinic to house five physicians and staff an outpatient rehabilitation facility. Big Horn Hospital was designated as a critical access hospital on July 1, 2004.

Big Horn Hospital Association serves patients in three contiguous counties. Big Horn County is the prime focus of health care needs with a population of approximately 13,000 residents spread over five thousand square miles. Since 1979, Big Horn Hospital Association has been operated by a community board of directors committed to working collaboratively to provide caring, economical, quality medical and health care services in Big Horn County and surrounding areas.

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