Groundbreaking set for new medical school in Great Falls

(Rendering above by LPW Architecture)

Touro College and University System is breaking ground on its proposed new campus of a medical school near Benefis Health System on Oct. 6.

The school has partnered with Benefis for clinical education for the new campus of the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (New York).

The medical school is scheduled to open with 125 students in the fall of 2023, according to Touro.

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The school will “address the physician shortage and increase access to healthcare for the state’s underserved populations,” according to Touro.

“Montana and surrounding region are facing a healthcare crisis, with eleven of the state’s 56 total counties lacking a practicing physician and 52 counties identified as areas with health profession shortages. Establishing a new medical school campus in the state will significantly address this great need as studies show that 39 percent of physicians practice in the state where they completed medical school,” according to Touro.

The college has campuses in New York, Nevada and California.

Currently, 60 percent of graduates go into primary care, according to Touro.

The Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation considered Touro’s application for the project during their August meeting.

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The Electric has asked both the COCA and Touro whether the project was approved but has not yet received an answer.

COCA is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and serves the public by establishing, maintaining and applying accreditation standards and procedure to ensure that academic quality and continuous quality improvement delivered by the colleges of osteopathic medicine reflect the evolving practice of osteopathic medicine.

City planning officials have had numerous conversations with the college officials on the project but have not yet received a formal permit applications.

Benefis working to bring medical school to Great Falls

Benefis has been working with Touro since the beginning of the year and made progress with the school receiving approval in mid-February from the Montana University System to offer post-secondary degrees in Montana, according to letter of approval from Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian.

The project is planned for property owned by Benefis near the intersection of 26th Street South and 18th Avenue South. It’s an 19-acre parcel just north of Central Catholic High School and there will be space remaining to build apartments for the students to the east of the medical school, according to Goodnow’s report.

According to Benefis CEO John Goodnow’s July report to the City Commission, the groundbreaking is for a facility about 100,000 square feet and that Sletten Construction has been selected as the general contractor. LPW is the architecture firm designing the project.

He wrote that Touro has also selected the dean for the new Great Falls campus.