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New building allowing more services at Rocky Boy Health Center

The addition of a new building to house administrative services at Rocky Boy Health Center will allow expanded services including improved medical and mental health services, a press release said.

The center on Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation is receiving $11.3 million in funding through the federal New Markets Tax Credit Program, freeing up space in the existing facility to allow improved access to high-quality and efficient medical, mental health and substance abuse services.

“With the addition of the new Health Administration Building, Rocky Boy Health Center will have more space to improve the behavioral health and substance abuse services that we offer to our patients. Not only that, but it will make the Rocky Boy Health Center more accessible to everyone,” Rocky Boy Health Center Chief Executive Officer Joel Rosette said in the release. “The New Markets Tax Credit Program and our continued partnership with U.S. Bank and community lender MoFi have given us the financial capabilities to complete the project and make it sustainable for future generations.

“We are excited about the future for our community to provide better health care and to be a positive change in north-central Montana,”  Rosette added.

Construction of the new administrative building has begun and it is expected to be complete in January 2024.

The clinic, which originally had been completed and damaged just a few years earlier, was rebuilt last decade near the location of Stone Child College after it was severely damaged in a massive flood that hit this region in 2010.

The press release said that Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation’s Chippewa Cree Tribe performed a community health assessment in 2017 that identified mental health and substance abuse as the two main unsupported health concerns within the community.

When the health center was completed in 2019, replacing how the tribe was providing health care services out of trailers and tribal meeting spaces, the tribe addressed those issues, the release said. However, COVID-19 exacerbated the problems.

The addition of the administrative building to the health center campus will help the tribe further its goal of improving comprehensive health care services to residents, along with increasing employment opportunities and enhancing community services, the release said.

The new 21,661-square-foot facility will free up space in the existing clinic and allow the health center to expand the behavioral health and substance abuse services it offers to patients, 70 percent of whom are low-income.

The new building will feature state-of-the-art technology, including telemedicine capabilities, so Rocky Boy Health Center can expand its services to patients in remote areas and increase patient access to medical providers who do not live on the reservation. It will allow for an expanded pharmacy with a drive-up window.

Moreover, the new facility will give the health center room to hire 30 full-time staff members and provide integrated care to 1,250 additional patients annually.

Funding for the new building was made possible through investments from the Chippewa Cree Tribe, U.S. Bank, as well as New Markets Tax Credits from the community development lender MoFi. Through the tax credit program, MoFi works with community leaders, businesses and nonprofits that would have the greatest impact and best benefit from the tax credit to spur economic development, create jobs and revitalize communities. MoFi sells the tax credits to investors and puts the proceeds from the sale back into projects — projects that would otherwise not move forward without the tax credits.

“It’s critical that folks in Indian Country have access to high-quality, affordable health care, which is why I’m proud to have helped secure this funding for a new Health Administration Building on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation,” U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said in the release. “Folks in rural Montana have to drive long distances to receive health care, but programs like the New Markets Tax Credit are making it possible to bring quality care to every corner of our state. I’ll always work alongside tribes in Montana to ensure they have access to the capital they need to expand access to health care, build critical infrastructure and create good-paying jobs right here in Indian Country.”

“For far too long, Montana’s tribes have lacked the resources they need to provide quality health care services to tribal members. I’m so grateful the New Markets Tax Credit is making new and improved access to high-quality and efficient medical, mental health and substance abuse services possible on Rocky Boy’s Reservation,” U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said in the release. “Over the last two decades, New Markets Tax Credits have financed nearly 40 projects in our state — an over $460 million investment into our local communities — and created more than 5,500 jobs for Montanans. As Montana’s voice in the United States Senate, I’ll keep working to make the NMTC permanent so more Montana communities can reap the benefits of these investments.”

“Access to quality health care is critical for all individuals, regardless of their background or location,” President of MoFi Dave Glase said. The new Health Administration Building and expansion of the Health Center at Rocky Boy’s Reservation, made possible by New Markets Tax Credits, are not just buildings, but a beacon of hope and a testament to the power of community investment in the health and well-being of its members.”

“Our investments help bring essential resources to communities where they’re needed, and we’re excited to support the Chippewa Cree Tribe. This new administration building means that center will be able to expand services and provide care to even more members of the community,” Senior Vice President and Business Development Officer with U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance Steve Kramer said. “The new jobs created as a result will also help contribute to a thriving community.”

 

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