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Published on March 02, 2022

Big Horn Hospital Association in Hardin, Billings Clinic approve affiliation agreement

HARDIN, MT – Big Horn Hospital Association and Billings Clinic are pleased to announce that they have signed an affiliation agreement, making the Hardin hospital an affiliate member of the region’s largest independent health system.

The two organizations announced in late 2021 that they were pursuing a formal affiliation and clinical partnership, with the goal of strengthening their shared focus on collaborative local health care. After several months of due diligence and collaborative discussions, Big Horn Hospital Association and Billings Clinic agreed to finalize the affiliation.

“We are thrilled to work with Billings Clinic and are looking forward to the support and collaboration this relationship will bring,” said Kristi Gatrell, Big Horn Hospital CEO. “Quite simply, this affiliation makes sense. Big Horn Hospital and our staff will be able to access expertise and support from Billings Clinic. Billings Clinic will continue its focus on supporting and growing local health care; and, most importantly, our patients and the communities we serve will benefit from the combined work and commitment to top quality patient care from each of us.”

As the region’s largest health care organization, Billings Clinic brings deep experience in rural health care. Big Horn Hospital Association joins 16 other Billings Clinic affiliates across Montana and Wyoming.

Affiliation includes the opportunity to be part of Billings Clinic’s integrated 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, 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 for 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.


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 ten 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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