By Sarah Gianelli EBS Associate Editor
BIG SKY – On Jan. 1, the Medical Clinic of Big Sky—the private practice of Dr. Jeff Daniels—was absorbed by Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center.
Daniels and his support staff of seven will continue their employment with Bozeman Health. While the Medical Clinic of Big Sky’s Town Center office in the RJS building closed Jan. 1, Daniels and his team will continue to provide patient care at the Mountain Clinic, located in the ski patrol building at Big Sky Resort. This location will remain open during ski season, under the operation of Bozeman Health.
Daniels opened the Medical Clinic of Big Sky at the resort in the summer of 1994. Prior to then, the sick or injured had to seek medical care in Bozeman. Daniels expanded his practice with a Meadow location in 2005.
As Big Sky’s first community physician, Daniels has witnessed the medical landscape undergo significant change since he, his wife Evelyn and son Eric moved here from New York City nearly 25 years ago. In a 2015 interview with EBS, Daniels said he spent the first six weeks in Big Sky working out of his car because his mountain-top office was not completed yet.
For three years, Daniels operated Medical Clinic of Big Sky under the Gondola One housing unit in the resort’s base area, but once construction began on the Summit Hotel building, the clinic was moved to Snowcrest Lodge, and then to a doublewide trailer in what is now the free-skier parking lot. In 1998, the clinic relocated again, this time to its current home in the ski patrol building. Through these changes, the patrol moved along with the clinic.
Daniels initiated a unique program in 1998 that gave up to 70 medical students each year the opportunity to practice medicine in Big Sky.
Since then, every ski season, from December through April, between 10 and 12 students and residents each month complete the program. More than 800 medical students, residents and fellows have participated since Daniels launched the program.
“Coordinating with Bozeman Health, and for the past two years, the team at Big Sky Medical Center, has been a privilege and I’m glad to strengthen our relationship in the pursuit of providing the best possible care for our Big Sky residents and visitors,” Daniels said in a Bozeman Health press release.
Cary Wilson, Daniels’ physician assistant for the past five years, said he was looking forward to having more resources at his disposal as an employee of Bozeman Health.
“I’m excited to be involved making improvements and innovations, and making the clinic better,” Wilson said. “[Bozeman Health] has more resources, and more specialists I can consult with more easily.”
“Dr. Daniels’ commitment to the Big Sky community is evident, and I’m pleased to have him join our team in living out our mission of improving community health and quality of life,” said Bozeman Health President and CEO John Hill in the press release. “This partnership will not only strengthen the care delivery system for the Big Sky community, but also ensure its sustainability.”
Daniels’ patients can still reach him at (406) 995-2797 or (406) 995-6995. Daniels joins the Big Sky Bozeman Health team of Drs. Chandler, Hess, Mitchell and Weber, who currently practice in the Big Sky Medical Center Family Medicine Clinic, located in the hospital building at 334 Town Center Ave.