Region offering expanded services, including a new pediatric and women's facility and a Native American clinic.
Not every pair of shoes will comfortably fit every pair of feet, and the same is true of health: A variety of services, treatments and forms of care are necessary.
Fortunately, medical providers in Great Falls are delivering care that meets people’s individual needs, whether it’s a place to stay, recognition of tribal health needs, or a special place for women’s care.
One provider is Benefis Health System, which operates three campuses in Great Falls that provide a wide range of services, including cancer care, and heart, lung and vascular treatment. And now it is expanding its offerings in a striking new facility that will gather all its services for women and children in a building designed for them.
The Benefis Women’s and Children’s Center will include 48,000 square feet of space, housing OB-GYN, general pediatrics, pediatric endocrinology, pediatric behavioral health, pediatric therapies, laboratory and imaging.
Healthy Benefits and More
In addition to treatment rooms, labs and offices, the new Benefis Women’s and Children’s Center will contain a small cafe, a tricycle track and play area for pediatric patient therapy, special rooms for pediatric behavioral health,
and a secluded waiting area for fertility patients.
“Women are the health care drivers in their families, but in the past, we may not have really designed space for their care,” says Kaci Husted, Benefis vice president of communications and business development. “This new facility will truly transform the way women and children access care in this community.”
The new building, slated to open in December 2021, is designed to be a comfortable, welcoming place for patients that makes life easier by eliminating the stress of running from place to place for various appointments.
“This will be an entirely different experience,” Husted says. “It’s a more convenient, nicer space designed for them, instead of fitting them into a space not right for them. It will make women feel like the center of our health care system, which they really are.”
The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians is designing health care that fills the needs of Native Americans in the state, many of whom have had difficult access to health care. The new Little Shell Tribal Health Clinic, scheduled to open in November 2021, was built in the former Best Friends Animal Hospital building.
This creative reuse of the building will provide exam rooms, spaces for consultation and conversation, behavioral health rooms, labs, a drive-thru pharmacy, and radiology. Also, a Smudge Room (for traditional Native American spiritual purification) will be available for family gatherings and prayer.
“For our members, it’s important for us to have something
that is our own. We’ve never had a reservation, and we were
just recognized by the federal government in 2019,
so this is a place to build community.”
Molly Wendland | tribe’s health director
The clinic will be organized around the Nuka system, developed by Alaskan Native Americans, a relationship-based, customer-owned approach to health care. “It’s about how you help people be well,” Wendland says. “We want to help people own their own health.”
Also, in downtown Great Falls, Alluvion Health is transforming the Rocky Mountain Building into a four-story health care facility. The building, which was heavily damaged in a fire several years ago, will now house medical, dental and behavioral health services as well as retail space.
Just Like Home
In addition to treatment facilities, outpatient housing has recently been top of mind in the region. An initiative of the Great Falls Clinic Legacy Foundation, the Harold & Carmen Poulsen Housing facility opened in September, providing a safe, free haven for clinic outpatients to stay when they are in town for treatment.
“We heard continuously for decades that this facility was needed, that having to travel to Great Falls, paying for gas and a hotel room was a huge trial for our patients,” says Grant Bebee, fundraising manager for the Great Falls Clinic Legacy Foundation.
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