Tester Secures Nearly $1 Million for Montana Health Care Workforce Training

Funding for University of Montana and Montana State University to increase diversity, improve health care access in rural Montana

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced he has secured nearly $1 million to help Montanans train for and secure a job in health care.

Tester announced the funds, which are available through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), will benefit students at the University of Montana and Montana State University. UM will receive $438,278 for a program that trains medical residents in rural and underserved areas, and MSU will receive $344,880 for scholarships to increase diversity in the health care workforce.

“The COVID-19 health crisis has shone a spotlight on the critical need for good doctors and nurses here in Montana” Tester said. “This funding will help us get more quality health care providers into our rural and underserved areas, and help make the health care workforce looks more like the folks they care for. I am going to keep fighting to make sure Montana communities have the resources they need to stay healthy and secure for the duration of this crisis and beyond.”

Tester has fought relentlessly to improve access to health care in rural Montana by training more providers to work in frontier communities and making sure hospitals in those communities have the resources they need. He voted in support of the Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Bills that provided $430 million for HRSA Health Workforce programs. Tester also authored the Restoring Rural Residencies Act in 2016 after hosting a Rural Health Summit that brought together more than 100 health care professionals and policy-makers to discuss challenges facing health care providers in Montana. This bill would allow rural hospitals to bill for time residents spend training at their sites. The Administration finalized a policy change to allow hospitals to receive reimbursement for residents’ training time based on Tester’s proposal.

Tester has also worked tirelessly to ensure that Montana hospitals and health care facilities are prepared to combat the COVID-19 crisis. He recently announced nearly $50 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to help Montana expand testing capacity. He also secured $3 million for 14 Montana community health centers to expand COVID-19 testing, and he delivered nearly $200 million in relief funding for 121 rural Montana hospitals, health centers, and clinics.

Visit tester.senate.gov/coronavirusresources for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak