New $10 Million CSKT Clinic Will Improve Access to Health Care
For the first time since a highway expansion in the Mission Valley, members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are going to have access to critical health services without having to travel long distances.
It was announced this week the new CSKT Health Center just received $10.3 million through the federal New Markets Tax Credits program.
The new clinic is finally replacing the tribe's original clinic, which was condemned and demolished when a portion of U.S. Highway 93 was expanded. Although tribal members had access to a small clinic during construction, the change meant most of the tribal members had to travel for many health care services for the past four years. That involved trips to Polson, or St. Ignatius.
The new clinic means CSKT tribal members, their families, and even other tribes will be able to receive services locally in the Mission Valley.
Funding for the new CSKT Health Center stemmed from a partnership between the tribe, U.S. Band, and the community development leader, MoFi.
“For too long, CSKT Tribal members and folks across Indian Country have had to travel long distances just to get basic health care. This is unacceptable.” -U.S. Senator Jon Tester.
Tester notes the clinic will not only expand access to services but also create good-paying jobs during both construction and operation of the clinic.
"The CSKT Health Center will provide quality health care services to folks in Ronan and the surrounding communities, and it was all made possible by the New Markets Tax Credit,” - U.S. Senator Steve Daines.
Daines notes the NMTC program has financed 40 projects in Montana over the past 20 years, with a total investment of more than $460 million, creating more than 5500 jobs.
“We are honored to partner with the team that led the efforts to get the New Markets Tax Credit in place for the CSKT Ronan Health Clinic,” said Chairman Tom McDonald. “This funding allowed for reinvestment into the community, bringing back a fitness center and physical therapy, to the wealth of health services at this clinic. We expect this additional project to be completed in early 2024.”
Tremendous need in Mission Valley
CSKT Tribal Health says up to 70% of the clinic's patients qualify as low-income individuals and families. Locating the clinic in Ronan provides a central location close to the largest number of tribal members on the reservation, as well as employees of the tribal government, and tribal-owned businesses.
The center will be 12,000 square feet, providing full primary care, urgent care, an area set aside for infectious patients, an infusion center, behavioral health, physical therapy, a pharmacy, and a community fitness center. It could serve up to 3,000 patients each year.