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Rural Montana health providers to receive $2.8M for testing

Big Sandy, Chester, Havre receiving funds


Last updated 5/22/2020 at 8:42am

Editor's note: This has been updated to include information from Sen. Steve Daines

Note: This is from the offices of Sen. Jon Tester and Sen. Steve Daines

U.S. Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., announced Wedensday that $2,868,762 in Health Resources and Services Administration funding for Montana’s 58 rural health clinics to expand testing capacity including in Big Sandy, Chester and Havre.

“As Montana’s economy reopens, robust testing is going to be our first line of defense against a second wave of infections,” said Tester. “That’s why the funds I’ve secured here are so critical, especially for our rural health clinics, which will use these resources to identify and contain new infections in frontier communities across our state, protecting both families and our economy.”

“This critical funding is about getting Montanans in our rural communities greater access to testing for COVID-19 as we work to safely reopen the economy,” Daines said. “I’m glad to have fought to secure this funding to support our rural health clinics and will continue working to ensure the needs of our communities are met during this crisis.”

The 58 clinics include Big Sandy Medical Center, Northern Montana Medical Group East in Havre and Triangle Health Care in Chester.

  The funds are a part of $225 million for rural health clinics included in the interim coronavirus relief package unanimously passed by the Senate last month.

The original proposal by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., included no money for health care providers and workers, but after bipartisan negotiations, $25 billion was included to expand testing resources across the country, a release from Tester’s office said.

  Daines fought to secure $225 million for Rural Health Clinics (RHC) for COVID-19 testing in the Phase 3.5 Coronavirus Economic Recovery Package. This funding will support over 4,500 RHCs across the country to support COVID-19 testing efforts and expand access to testing in rural communities, a release from his office said.

Tester has been working tirelessly to ensure that Montana hospitals and health care facilities are prepared to combat the COVID-19 crisis, his release said. He recently announced nearly $50 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security 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. Additionally, he sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar urging him to guarantee that a portion of the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund will be set aside specifically for rural providers, health care expenses, or lost revenues attributable to the pandemic.


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