Tester Announces $4.5 Million for Health Centers in Cut Bank, Hamilton, Miles City, Shelby and Great Falls

Funding Comes Courtesy of the Affordable Care Act

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced grants totaling more than $4.5 million to support five local community health centers across the state and provide health care for thousands of Montana families.

“Community health centers are on the front lines of providing health care in rural areas,” Tester said. “They’re often the only regular source of care for many rural families, and this funding will help support their life-saving mission. We must work together to protect these important resources into the future.”

The funding comes from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Health Center Cluster grant program, which is one of multiple programs established by the Affordable Care Act to distribute funding to community health centers across the country.

The funding was awarded as follows:

  • Cut Bank: Glacier Community Health Center – $1,685,166
  • Great Falls: Cascade County Community Health Center – $1,558,934
  • Hamilton: Sapphire Community Health Center – $704,000
  • Miles City: Custer Community Health Center – $919,183
  • Shelby: Marias Health Service Inc. – $716,936

“We’re really grateful for this funding, we wouldn’t be able to continue to provide services without it,” said Leslie Southworth, CEO of the Community Health Care Center in Cascade County. “We provide primary, dental, and mental health care to about 4,000 patients a year and many of them would go without care if we weren’t here. In fact, we’ve seen a huge uptick in appointments since Medicaid expansion, because many of our patients just couldn’t afford to see a health care provider before they qualified for Medicaid. So people weren’t getting regular checkups, taking their prescribed medication, or receiving basic dental work. Thankfully that has changed in recent years, and we really appreciate Senator’s Tester’s ongoing efforts to make health care more accessible and affordable for all Montanans.”

If Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act, 17 community health centers serving over 100,000 Montanans across the state each year could lose up to 70% of their funding.

After recently holding more than a dozen health care listening sessions across the state, Tester has been working hard to improve the current health care system and lower costs for Montana families.

Tester has also offered to work with the Trump Administration to craft a bipartisan health care solution that not only helps rural hospitals and community health centers, but expands coverage and limits the costs of premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.

Tester opposes the House’s current replacement bill because it fails to address the rising cost of health care premiums and forces seniors to pay more. Tester has also highlighted the negative impact that the House health care bill would have on veterans, pregnant women and newborns, and seniors.