$3 million approved for Montana health, education projects

Senate Panel approves Baucus & Tester requests

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – A Senate panel has approved $3 million in funding requested by Montana's U.S. Senators for health and education projects across Montana.

The Senate Appropriations Committee agreed to include the requests by Max Baucus and Jon Tester in next year's federal budget.

"These dollars will go a long way in improving health care and expanding educational opportunities in Montana, and they will bring good-paying jobs to the Big Sky State," Baucus said.  "Jon and I are proud of these projects and all the good they'll do for our state."

"These projects are smart investments in Montana's health care and education infrastructure," Tester said.  "This is the first step.  Now Max and I will make sure our colleagues in the Senate understand how important they are to all of Montana."

The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved the following Montana projects:

  • BILLINGS: $150,000 for St. Vincent Healthcare to provide training to establish a pediatric "E-Intensive Care Unit," which will allow pediatric specialists from around the region to care for Montana children through telemedicine.
  • BILLINGS: $150,000 for Billings Clinic to help the hospital fund its cancer center, its diabetes center and its internal medicine and psychiatric residency programs. 
  • BOZEMAN: $800,000 for HealthShare Montana, an non-profit organization that promotes health information technology across Montana.
  • BROWNING: $400,000 for the Browning School Disctrict to help pay for academic curricula and equipment for Browning's new high school.
  • GREAT FALLS: $150,000 for the Benefis Healthcare Foundation.  The money will help fund improved health information technology to serve Montana's rural communities.
  • HELENA: $200,000 for Montana AFL-CIO to help provide training for transitional workers, helping Montana idustries expand and provide more good-paying jobs.
  • LIBBY: $400,000 for the Libby School District to help fund academic curricula and equipment as the district builds a new school.
  • LIBBY: $200,000 for the Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD Clinic) to help expand research into the treatments and cures for diseases caused by asbestos.
  • MILES CITY: $100,000 for Miles Community College's Pathways to Careers in Healthcare program.
  • MISSOULA: $150,000 for St. Patrick Hospital to help build a mental health care unit within the hospital's emergency department.
  • MISSOULA: $100,000 for Community Medical Center to replace outdated equipment and better security in the hospital's Women's and Newborn Care Center.
  • MISSOULA: $200,000 to establish the Institute for Leadership and Public Service at the University of Montana.

Both Baucus and Tester also asked to include additional funding for the U.S. Department of Education.  The Appropriations Committee agreed to include nearly $172 million for small, rural and low income schools and nearly $25 million for the department's Reading is Fundamental Program.

The measure also contains $50 million above the President's budget request to ensure that the government can continue to make progress on the backlog of Social Security disability claims.  Baucus, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee which oversees Social Security, spearheaded the backlog initiative last year.