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Our View: Thanks to Shodair for caring for children


Last updated 1/26/2018 at 11:50am

Shodair Children’s Hospital deserves great thanks and praise for the work it has been doing for more than a century — and continues to do — caring for children in Montana.

The hospital held an outreach reception in Havre Monday to let people know what it does to help children, and what they can do to help it in its mission.

The hospital began in 1896 in Helana as an orphanage, primarily taking in parentless children brought from the east to the west on “orphan trains.”

As time changed and more and more children were placed in foster homes rather than orphanages, Shodair also changed, turning toward medical treatment. Shodair was the first hospital in Montana to treat children with polio, the first facility with a department of medical genetics and this first with a chemical dependency unit dedicated to adolescents.

It has evolved again, now the only facility dedicated entirely to psychiatric treatment for children and adolescents. The hospital has an acute care unit and three units for residential treatment of young children, middle school-aged children and high school-aged children. The facility has certified teaching staff to help students work in academic areas as needed or make up missed credits, and the staff also includes psychiatrists, therapists, psychologists, registered nurses and licensed practicing nurses and mental health technicians.

Much of the treatment is paid through Medicaid, meaning the hospital receives 40 cents on the dollar for its work, and it also provides more than $6 million a year in care for which it receives no payment thanks to its generous sponsors and donors. The ShoCare program also provides a sliding-fee scale for patients depending on their family’s income.

The only member of the Montana Children’s Miracle Network, Shodair receives all money raised through fundraisers in the Montana network including special sales at businesses like Dairy Queen, campaigns by Montana’s credit unions and the signature Children’s Miracle Network Miracle Balloon campaigns.

People also are welcome to make donations to the hospital to help it in its mission.

To find out more about Shodair, its history and the work it does, and how to make a donation to help it in that work, visit its website at https://shodair.org.


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