- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula says it plans to add obstetrics, newborn and pediatric services as early as next year.

The decision puts Providence St. Patrick Hospital in direct competition with Community Medical Center, which is currently the only provider of birth and newborn care in Missoula.

Monday’s announcement comes just weeks after Community Medical Center announced it was being bought out by Billings Clinic and a Tennessee-based hospital group and planned to switch to for-profit status.

St. Patrick also plans to add a level 2 neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU.

Community Medical Center officials said they were saddened by St. Patrick’s decision, noting that in 1974 the hospitals decided one NICU was best for the community.

Providence Western Montana chief executive Jeff Fee says changes in health care require organizations like St. Patrick to provide comprehensive services.

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