PMC partners in grant dedicated to improving care and efficiency

Montana Senator Max Baucus announced in June 2012 critical funding to launch a new rural health care partnership. 

The nearly $10.5 million“Health Care Innovation” grant was awarded to Mineral Regional Health Center in Superior.

The grant allows Mineral Regional Health Center to coordinate with Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) and rural health care centers from across Montana, with the goal of improving care and boosting efficiency.

“This is the kind of smart investment that is designed to save money over the long haul while supporting good-paying jobs and better health care right away,” said Sen. Baucus, who wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services in support of Mineral Regional Health Center’s grant application. 

He went on to add, “This is a win for Montana families and an important step toward strengthening our rural health care system.”

The Health Care Innovation Awards are made possible by the health care law, the Affordable Care Act. The awards are designed to support innovative projects that save money, deliver high quality care and enhance the health care workforce. 

Pondera Medical Center, along with many other Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), has joined with Mineral Regional Medical Center as grant recipients. Each of the participating CAH communities hired or designated a Better Health Improvement Specialist (BHIS), and is working to create their own Better Health Improvement Plan (BHIP). The BHIP is based on the unique needs and challenges faced by each community with regard to healthcare.

The plans create specific community goals and targets that will help achieve the Triple Aim, as defined by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation as better health in the overall population, better healthcare delivery and reduction in per capita cost of care.

Laurie Ward has been named as the Better Health Improvement Specialist (BHIS) to represent PMC with the grant group.She has been working as PMC’s Quality Assurance/Infection Control Coordinator and employee health nurse for the last year.She resides in Power and has also been a registered nurse for 11 years.

Ward said, “I am very excited to be working on this project here at PMC. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with other facilities to better meet the healthcare needs of rural Montana.”

Ward went on to say, “The hospital administration and staff are working very hard to continue improving care for the residents of Pondera County and the surrounding area.”

Editor’s note: The FMBHP project is supported by a cooperative funding agreement, Funding Opportunity Number CMS-1C1-12-0001, from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation, a component of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The contents of this release are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services or any of its agencies.