Health Center Separates from Flathead County
Despite the disruption of the novel coronavirus, discussions to separate the Flathead Community Health Center from the Flathead City-County Health Department (FCCHD) have been gaining momentum over the past year.
On June 1, the health center will formally emerge from the province’s control umbrella, which will be renamed the Greater Valley Health Center.
The Federally Qualified Health Center was established in 2007 to provide services to low-drug communities in Flathead Valley. The center has recently become an independent, non-profit health center, but continues to be nested within the Flathead County management framework as part of the FCCHD.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Flathead County Health Officer Joe Russell told county commissioners at a May 25 meeting where the final documents were signed. Came into this community together, she can do well, and there we are.”
Mary Strahan, CEO of the Greater Valley Health Center (GVHC), said progress is accelerating until the pandemic reaches its peak.
“A year ago the province was reviewing the projects and their areas of focus,” said Strahan. “Having a health clinic as part of the provincial government is a small anomaly and I think they recognize it. It’s a different business than any other part of running a province.”
The health center was established during Russell’s first term as county health officer, and the functional structure allows the health center and health department to serve as co-applicants for Health Resources and Services (HRSA). , which has acted as a fund for health. opening day.
In recent years the province has served as the Department of Human Resources, Information Technology and Finance for the health centre, although the center retains its own board of directors and is self-sufficient in all other capacities.
Strahan says that even if GVHC moves toward complete independence from the province, there will be no major operational changes.
“It will be an improvement for us in managing our own manpower – there are so many issues regarding manpower that the provincial department has no other contracts,” he said. “Dedicating our people to managing our technology is important, because we live or die through electronic medical records. We gain a lot of administrative flexibility.”
Strahan said resilience is important for a community health center, especially in a year like 2020, when the pandemic forced many employees to leave duties quickly and make rapid changes to services as needed.
In isolation, GVHC will be the sole recipient of the HRSA grant. The center currently operates with a majority funding of $6 million.
In addition, as part of a segregation agreement with the province, GVHC will lease the same space on First Avenue West to the Gallisbell Clinic. The contract, signed last week, is a five-year lease with a renewal option, costing ₹176,975.50 for the first year.
The health center provides primary care, hygiene, behavioral and behavioral health services, and enables individuals to enroll in insurance or other health-related needs.
The health center serves approximately 8,000 residents of the province, with a satellite hospital in the main Gallispell location, Hungry Horse, and between two school clinics. As part of its mission, it offers a flexible payment program for domestic and local pharmacies to work with patients with income challenges.
“Whatever it is, we need to be together for the patient in need,” said Starhan. “We want to fulfill our mission of serving the underprivileged and uninsured in the community.”