MISSOULA – The University of Montana’s Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana was one of 32 awardees nationally to receive a $1.7 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The purpose of the grant is to strengthen the primary health care workforce while improving health care delivery and outcomes in rural and underserved areas of Montana.
“With 53 out of 56 Montana counties underserved in primary health care, there is an urgent need to focus on building a rural health care workforce that can meet the needs of our rural Montana communities,” said Rebecca Morgan, FMRWM project and communications manager.
The grant funding will provide training and team-building activities for both the residency program and partner hospitals in developing sustainable health care teams and transforming health care delivery.
Along with the FMRWM, four Critical Access Hospitals and communities in Western Montana are participating in the grant program, including Community Hospital of Anaconda, Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital of Hamilton, Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Polson and St. Luke Community Healthcare in Ronan.
This five-year, primary-care “Team Training for Transformation” grant will focus on training and engaging local teams to promote integrated, coordinated health care, improving patient experience, optimizing the use of information technology and improving health care performance at a lower cost. The ultimate goal is to enhance the health of local populations through a collaborative effort between rural communities and FMRWM.
As residents train in the four rural communities, they will be included in team-training activities, in addition to their direct patient-care experiences. One of FMRWM’s goals is to ensure program graduates enter the workforce understanding the importance of delivering health care in a team-based model that best serves the patient and the community.
“This is an excellent opportunity for not only our residents, but also our program to have an impact in strengthening our primary care workforce in Montana,” said Dr. Ned Vasquez, FMRWM program director and grant co-principal investigator. “This grant will assist us greatly in furthering our mission to ‘serve patients and communities in the rural and underserved areas of Montana’ and we look forward to the next five years.”
Each of the involved communities will select and collaborate through improvement projects that engage their health care professionals, staff, community stakeholders and family medicine residents in team-based models specific to the resources and needs of the community.
“There is an incredible sense of pride and independence in our rural communities, and we want to use grant training dollars to help these highly motivated folks reach the community health goals they select,” said Dr. Frank Reed, FMRWM rural director and grant co-principal investigator. “It’s all about maximizing and enhancing local resources for better rural health.”
FMRWM’s desired outcome is that the initial project sites continue practicing lessons learned as the team members increase job satisfaction while experiencing better quality and efficiency in their health care delivery systems. Pending the experiences and outcomes of the project, FMRWM is hopeful this team-based training model could be adaptable and scalable to other rural Montana communities. The primary care training grant goes through June 2020.
About Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana
The FMRWM, headquartered in Missoula, is a three-year family medicine residency program sponsored by the University of Montana and affiliated with the University of Washington Family Medicine Residency Network. The program’s three sponsoring hospitals in Western Montana include Kalispell Regional Healthcare, Providence St. Patrick Hospital and Community Medical Center. Additionally, the program works with an extensive rural training network of nine sites, including Blackfeet Community Hospital, Northwest Community Health Center, Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, Clark Fork Valley Hospital, St. Luke Community Healthcare, Community Physicians Group-Stevensville, Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, Community Hospital of Anaconda and Barrett Hospital and Healthcare. The program welcomed its inaugural class of 10 residents in July 2013 with the first class graduating in June 2016. FMRWM is dedicated to training family physicians capable of providing comprehensive and transformed care for the rural and underserved areas in Montana. For more information visit http://health.umt.edu/fmrwm/.
This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under T0BHP28582, Primary Care Training and Enhancement, $1,730,660. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsement be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. government.