OUR HISTORY

REAL PEOPLE.
REMARKABLE
HEALTHCARE.

IN 1986, THE TOWN OF LIVINGSTON was still trying to find its way and identity after Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad pulled out of its rebuild and manufacturing facility and transferred its employees to Iowa. The belief in the power of change and the shared vision that everyone deserves good health options inspired many community members to roll up their sleeves and work on a shared goal – access to affordable healthcare. Folks from medicine, social services, public health, education, chemical dependency, mental health, public officials (city and county), law enforcement, community action groups, religious leaders, and working families were all represented and led this effort.

Through the leadership and grant writing expertise of Laurie Francis (CHP’s CEO 1998-2010), community members cheered when funding from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration was received in 1997 to open Community Health Partners (CHP) clinic in Livingston. This was only the beginning; the premise of assuring access to healthcare spread to neighboring communities, and soon CHP clinics were established in Bozeman (2001), Belgrade (2008), and West Yellowstone (2010). Following the opening of the medical sites was the establishment of CHP dental clinics in Bozeman (2005) and Livingston (2009).

A foundational belief that wellness lies in the mind, body and spirit soon emerged and became part of our mission and goal. Likewise an understanding of putting patients in control of their healthcare evolved in all phases of our practice. The staff and board at CHP began reaching beyond clinical care to shape the health in their patients through behavioral health interventions, family literacy options, on-site prenatal services, family support resources, pharmaceutical, and dental services. CHP’s innovative programming offers an understanding of the interconnectedness of well-being and education. This led to an interdisciplinary process of designing systems with the following values woven into the core of clinic action and policy design: Respect, Efficiency, Collaboration, Equity, Education, Clear communication, Empathy, Excellence, Patient-centered, Optimism, Flexibility and Transparency.

The following practices are underpinnings of how CHP provides patient-driven care:

Facilitative leadership is the belief that today’s leaders must inspire and create conditions that permit others to be their best in the pursuit of shared goals. This includes enabling others to offer their unique perspectives and talents, share their problems, take initiative, make appropriate decisions, work with others, and share responsibility for the health of a team, organization, or community.
Motivational Interviewing is the cornerstone of assisting patients to take responsibility and ownership of their health. As anyone who has tried to adopt a healthy behavior or kick a bad habit can attest, change is difficult. Tools like motivational interviewing promote informed decision-making and encourage patients to participate in taking care of their own health.
The Chronic Care Model (CCM), developed by Ed Wagner and his colleagues, identifies the essential elements of a health care system that promotes high-quality chronic disease care. Recognizing the importance of evidence based care and networking with nationwide community health clinics to improve its practices, CHP participated in a series of learning opportunities through the Health Disparities Collaborative from 1999 to 2006 to improve health care operations. In 2012, CHP received recognition from the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Level 3 (highest honor) Patient-Centered Medical Home.
To provide comprehensive primary care to medically underserved individuals takes a team effort. Often patients are seen by a variety of providers – providers, nurses, dentists, behavioral health specialists, and educators. Team building among all providers is essential to providing progressive, respectful, patient-centered care. CHP creates effective teams by extensively investing in team training, development, and evaluation.
The Chronic Care Model (CCM), developed by Ed Wagner and his colleagues, identifies the essential elements of a health care system that promotes high-quality chronic disease care. Recognizing the importance of evidence based care and networking with nationwide community health clinics to improve its practices, CHP participated in a series of learning opportunities through the Health Disparities Collaborative from 1999 to 2006 to improve health care operations. In 2012, CHP received recognition from the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Level 3 (highest honor) Patient-Centered Medical Home.
Health literacy refers to the ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information to make appropriate health decisions. CHP in its commitment to providing all patients access to health information, offers medical and educational services under one roof. Adult Basic Education services are provided through Learning Partners to improve reading, writing, and math skills, as well as assistance in obtaining a HiSET. All patient education materials are produced for easy readability, to be visually inviting, and free of medical jargon. CHP uses the teach-back technique as a basic step to help improve patients’ understanding of their health concerns.
Income and education are the two most critical factors for improving health and reducing health disparities. With approximately 40 percent of Livingston residents having limited literacy skills upon opening its doors in 1998, CHP immediately sought to address this factor through innovative programming. A highly-integrated family literacy program, Learning Partners, emerged with the emphasis in serving those greatest in need with the support of the Livingston School District, Office of Public Assistance, Livingston Library, 21st Century Community Learning Projects, Montana State University/EDUFAIM, Human Resources Development Council and Head Start. It is housed in the same building as our medical/dental clinic and allows seamless “one-stop-service” for families accessing physical, dental, and mental health care, literacy programming and parenting support. Learning Partners assists in empowering patients and community members to improve physical, social, emotional, and mental health by providing up-to date information and evidence-based practices that improve health. Educational services include parenting classes and support groups, case management, mental health services, Adult Basic Education, HiSET preparation and testing, financial literacy, and workforce development. CHP also enriches early childhood education through home visiting, provides job skills training, soft skills training, technology education, one-on-one tutors and English as a Second Language education.

CHP focuses on the “community“ in “Community Health Center” by partnering with other agencies and organizations to articulate the message of wellness and health. CHP engages in partnerships with local health agencies, educational institutions, for-profit and non-profit agencies, community action groups and local businesses. By partnering with local hospitals, CHP recognizes that it is able to provide continuity of care to patients who are seen at the clinic and the hospital. Collaboration with local hospitals has allowed the organizations to grow together and help reduce the cost of healthcare.

Without the support of Livingston Healthcare and Bozeman Health, our two closest partners, patient care for needs such as laboratory and imaging services, as well as specialty care, would be severely curtailed. CHP recognizes that through valuable partnerships many community issues can be addressed.

CHP relies on engaged employees to ensure patients and clients receive excellent care. When staff are engaged, empowered, committed to their organization and passionate about what they do, it shows. Staff engagement is ultimately a function of good management, team work, staff satisfaction and staff health and well-being. CHP is fortunate to regularly attract creative, motivated, and compassionate individuals who contribute their talents to CHP’s mission. Staff members are encouraged to redesign procedures and work flows to create more effective practices. Many staff attend regional and national conferences as part of their continuing education and are invited to speak about CHP’s approach to holistic healthcare.