Making it in Big Sky: Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center
By Mira Brody EBS STAFF
BIG SKY – Six years ago, Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center opened its doors to the Big Sky community, offering expert care to full- and part-time residents as well as visitors to Big Sky. The hospital offers 24/7/365 emergency medical care, runs a medical inpatient unit, diagnostic imaging center, laboratory services and a retail pharmacy. The primary care clinic offers both family medicine and behavioral health services.
Taylor Rose, director of Clinical Services & Operations at BSMC, has not only been at the hospital’s helm, navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, but also adapting services to the exponential growth in the area. EBS spoke with Rose about his work in the community, and what brought him here in the first place.
The following answers have been edited for brevity.
Explore Big Sky: First, tell me a little about yourself, how did you end up in Big Sky?
Taylor Rose: As an avid fly fisherman and outdoorsman, I had been looking for a place to raise my family. I was looking for a location that had good schools and access to outdoor activities located in the intermountain West. As a hospital administrator by profession, I had hoped to find a small hospital that I could be part of and be part of the community. When I first visited Big Sky, I immediately noticed the feel of the town and how it reminded me of Park City 20 years ago. Growing up in Salt Lake, I spent many summers in Park City and I absolutely love the culture of mountain towns. Big Sky fit the bill for everything I was looking for as a place to raise my family, so we made the leap and moved to Big Sky in March 2020.
EBS: What is your role with BSMC and how did you first become involved?
T.R.: Bozeman Health recruited me away from my role as the administrator of a 56-bed hospital in the Puget Sound region of Washington. After living in the Pacific Northwest for years and missing the wide-open spaces and uncrowded nature of the intermountain west, when the opportunity to run the hospital in Big Sky presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity. I serve as the director of operations and clinical services.
EBS: Can you give me a little background on how the hospital in Big Sky came to be?
T.R.: Bozeman Health opened the first pharmacy in Big Sky in 2004. Soon after that in 2005, Bozeman Health purchased the land where the hospital now sits. In 2013 the Big Sky community came together and discussed the options for bringing a hospital to Big Sky. Bozeman Health came forward with a proposal and a plan that supported the community and would be able to grow with the town and demand. In December 2015 Big Sky Medical Center opened its doors with 24/7 emergency department, primary care, lab, imaging, and pharmacy services. We have an amazing care team, and together with great support from our local community, it’s been a joy to see the medical center grow over these past nearly six years.
EBS: Why do you believe it is in integral resource for those in Big Sky? How has it met need in the area so far?
T.R.: Having a hospital located in Big Sky is a game changer for the community and an important aspect for those looking to bring their families and live here. Having access to the services we offer locally versus having to drive an hour or more to get those basic healthcare needs met helps locals feel more confident in making the move to establish their lives in Big Sky. There are also the obvious advantages of having the hospital here locally when there are medical emergencies in the Big Sky and West Yellowstone areas. I can say without a doubt that having a hospital in Big Sky has saved many lives by getting people care faster, closer to home.
EBS: Do these needs and the way BSMC meets them change as the community grows?
T.R.: Since our opening in 2015, Big Sky Medical Center has added extended clinic hours (later appointments and Saturday availability), behavioral health services, ultrasound imaging, doubled our inpatient bed capacity, and increased the acuity of patients we are able to treat and care for in our hospital. Much of this has been made possible by a generous local donor community.
As we look to the future we see a lot of opportunity to continue to meet the needs of the community. We are currently underway to bring skilled nursing facility services to Big Sky in the form of a swing bed program. This service will allow us to have patients who need longer term care after being discharged from any hospital in Montana, to receive that care locally in Big Sky. We are also working to increase our resources and be able to keep more patients in our inpatient medical unit that are treated in the emergency department and need a hospital admission. We hope to be able to keep more inpatient admissions.
EBS: What are some notable ways BSMC has partnered with the community during COVID-19?
T.R.: Big Sky Medical Center has been a partner with the community since the beginning. With the support and donations of our generous community, we were able to build out four additional inpatient rooms to address the needs of a surge of patients needing care. We partnered with the Big Sky Relief organization to provide nursing and contact tracing for the surveillance testing program. We have administered all of the COVID-19 vaccinations for Gallatin County in Big Sky. We have brought in three behavioral health providers with weekly clinic days in Big Sky to help address mental health needs. We are also the only local COVID-19 testing site and offer testing seven days a week through our drive through testing process.
EBS: Is there anything else that we should know about BSMC?
T.R.: Big Sky Medical Center is proud to be a part of the Big Sky community. The care team at BSMC takes great pride in the care they provide. I have never worked with such a wonderful team who care so deeply for their patients. Big Sky is lucky to have the doctors, nurses, ancillary service staff, and support staff here to care for them. All of our staff have come together during the COVID-19 pandemic and faced the challenge head on with a great attitude. We are truly grateful for their dedication and service.
EBS: What is the best advice or a quote that helps you through your daily work?
T.R.: I do like the saying, “one day at a time” as I continue in my new role and as we all persevere through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.