High Tech Healthcare Keeps Great Falls in Great Health
Great Falls residents benefit from high-level care delivered with a hometown feel.
When a patient complains of chest pain, receiving appropriate care quickly can mean the difference between life and death. And access to cutting-edge treatment can make a crucial difference in the outcome of diseases like cancer.
Fortunately, Great Falls residents have access to top-notch providers that employ the latest technologies in well-equipped facilities. The region’s two leading providers, Benefis Health System and Great Falls Clinic, have invested in the latest treatments and expertise but have strived to maintain a hometown feel.
Serving the Region
Benefis Health System serves patients in a 38,000-square-mile area of Montana and includes major facilities in Great Falls, where it offers 220 private inpatient hospital rooms, and in-person and telemedicine treatment throughout the region.
Benefis East Campus, where most of its services are located, is home to its Benefis Birth Center, where 1,436 babies were delivered here in 2018. Benefis also operates south, north and west campuses and Teton Medical Center in Choteau. As part of its continuum of care, Benefis offers extensive senior services, including assisted living and hospice care.
“With 3,300 employees, we are a staple in the community. I don’t think you can live here without knowing someone who works at Benefis,â€ says Kaci Husted, system vice president of communications and business development. “We offer great benefits and take good care of our employees.”
Benefis has invested more than $400 million in recent years in facilities and technology, including its recently upgraded emergency medical department and the Sletten Cancer Institute. Here, patients can find hormone therapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, genetic counseling and support from compassionate providers. Its Varian Edgeâ„¢ Radiotherapy System provides precise treatment of tumors, resulting in faster recovery times.
In order to serve patients in its sprawling region, Benefis maintains a robust air ambulance service with both helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft that fly more than 1,000 missions annually. It carries out some 30,000 homecare visits each year and manages a special program to ensure culturally sensitive medical care to the Native American community.
The region offers a variety of specialty health providers, such as the Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute, which operates a facility in Great Falls, among its 17 facilities in six states.
“On the care side, people know us as a place where you can get high-level care you can’t get other places,â€ Husted says. “If you’re really sick in this region, this is where you want to go.”
Hometown Health Care
“Our goal is serving the patients within our community and outlying communities by having a small, hometown hospital approach,â€ says Samantha Shinaberger, professional relations manager at Great Falls Clinic. “We pride ourselves on being the local hospital within Great Falls, and we try to bring what the community needs.”
Serving the Great Falls area for more than 100 years, the clinic began as a small group of physicians and has grown to include Great Falls Clinic Main, Great Falls Clinic Surgery Center, Great Falls Clinic Specialty Center, Great Falls Clinic Northwest and Great Falls Clinic Hospital, which opened its new facility in 2016. The hospital has 19 all-private inpatient rooms, three operating rooms and a recently added cardiac cath lab, which allows cardiac patients to be treated quickly and without the need for a time-consuming transfer to a larger hospital.
Over the years, Great Falls Clinic has introduced a number of medical advancements, including the first stereotactic breast biopsy in the region and the first open MRI. The hospital has introduced the sophisticated da Vinci Xiâ„¢ System, a robotic surgery tool that allows for less bleeding, less pain, less chance of infection and faster recovery from surgery.
The clinic offers a wide range of services at its Specialty Center, adjacent to the hospital, which includes a heart center as well as a family medicine, infectious disease, orthopedics, immediate care, pain management and urology units. A comprehensive cancer center there offers an infusion suite, radiation therapy, two oncologists, a radiation oncologist and a hematologist.