MONTANA – Governor Bullock today highlighted several new healthcare initiatives across Montana. Governor Bullock and Lt. Governor Cooney will be traveling the state this week to showcase some of the latest innovative projects.
“Montana kids, families and communities always deserve the best health care available,” said Governor Bullock. “Here in Montana we have brought Democrats and Republicans together to improve access to healthcare services all across the state. As a result of this work, Montana is pioneering state-of-the-art efforts that will make people healthier and increase access to high-quality and affordable care for all Montanans.”
Under Governor Bullock’s leadership, Montana has made record investments in mental health services all across the state, including crisis intervention, youth mental health and short-term patient care, and emergency detention. These investments are ensuring that our family members, coworkers, friends, and neighbors have the care they need in their communities, surrounded by friends, family, and support systems.
As a result of the bipartisan HELP Act, more people are insured in Montana than ever before, because now our federal tax dollars are coming home to provide affordable healthcare to over 50,000 hardworking Montanans, many of whom have access to preventative healthcare for the first time in their lives. Under Governor Bullock’s leadership, rural hospitals that had been struggling under the weight of uncompensated care have been thrown a lifeline, and the uninsured rate in Montana has dropped from a staggering 20% in 2013 to just over 7% in 2016.
With unprecedented access to care transforming the lives of Montanans all across the state, there is still more work to be done. In 2015, Governor Bullock created the Governor’s Council on Healthcare Innovation, asking leaders from throughout the healthcare industry to come together in a sustained commitment to work toward better health outcomes and reduced costs in the healthcare system.
As a result of this work, Montana will be pioneering state-of-the-art, public-private innovations that will transform Montana’s healthcare system, improve health outcomes, and ensure access to high-quality, affordable care for all Montanans.
- Reforming Primary Healthcare through Innovation: Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) Pilot Project
Under Governor Bullock’s leadership, Montana has been selected as one of only fourteen locations across the United States to implement the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) model. CPC+ aims to improve health outcomes for patients, provide flexibility and incentives to doctors, and reduce overall cost of care. Montana was chosen after Montana Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, and PacificSource Health Plans worked together to highlight the public-private partnerships Montana has built to advance healthcare reform in Montana, such as Montana’s patient-centered medical home model and the Governor’s Council on Healthcare Innovation. Because Montana was selected, hospitals and clinics now have the option to participate in the new reform, which will offer increased flexibility and decreased regulations for healthcare providers while incentivizing quality of care over volume of care.
[More information on CPC+ can be found here.]
- Using Technology to Increase Access to Mental Health Services: Project ECHO
Governor Bullock’s Council on Healthcare Innovation is supporting a pilot project – Project ECHO – that will remotely connect experts in Psychiatry Department at Billings Clinic to up to 10 doctors’ offices and health clinics in rural communities throughout the state using weekly telehealth clinics. In these distance-based clinics, mental health experts at Billings Clinic will share their expertise on patient cases at the remote sites via mentoring, guidance, feedback, and education. This enables primary care clinicians in the remote sites to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to efficiently treat patients with common mental health diagnoses in their own communities, reducing travel costs, wait times and avoidable complications.
[More information on Project ECHO can be found here.]
- Improving Access to and Quality of Veterans Healthcare
Governor Bullock will continue to demand that the federal government meet its obligation to our state’s veterans. But because veterans can’t always wait, he’s providing immediate relief from the state. Montana has the highest percentage of veterans in the nation and the highest percentage of uninsured veterans. Not all veterans are eligible to receive health insurance through the VA and even fewer are enrolled. Those who are eligible don’t always have comprehensive coverage, struggle with long wait times, and too often lack local access to care. But the HELP Act provides another route of care for veterans. This week, Governor Bullock will announce an outreach and education initiative to enroll eligible veterans for comprehensive and local healthcare through the bipartisan HELP Plan.