The Great Falls Clinic Legacy Foundation brings hope and healing to Great Falls and surrounding communities.
The Great Falls Clinic Legacy Foundation is dedicated to helping patients and families from around Montana seeking medical treatment in Great Falls, Montana. For many years, there has been a great need in our community for patient housing while receiving outpatient treatment.
The Foundation and a generous community will take us to a new level of service in the area of healthcare. The care and comfort of our patients and families are of the utmost importance to us and sustaining our patient housing facility has become our top priority.
The Foundation seeks to achieve our mission of hope and healing through funding approaches that result in:
- Providing affordable housing and travel options for patients and families in need
- Increasing the level of care for all patients
- Promoting patient health and wellness
- Expanding opportunities beyond just housing and travel assistance that will bring hope and healing to our community
The Great Falls Clinic Legacy Foundation is located in Great Falls, the hub of North Central Montana and serves patients and their families traveling to Great Falls for medical treatment by providing free, temporary housing and other amenities and programs.
The Great Falls Clinic, a private healthcare provider since 1917, recognized traveling patients’ financial and emotional struggles and conceived of the Foundation in 2015 after hearing about this challenge repeatedly from patients and their families.
The Clinic provides medical care to over 250,000 patients each year, with over 40% of these patients traveling from outlying areas. The Clinic sees an average of 650 surgical and 400 cancer patients each month; about 42% of these patients travel to Great Falls from surrounding areas. In 2017, the Clinic saw 9,068 pediatric patients, with 40% or 6,472 traveling from outlying areas. These young patients have access to an immunization clinic, well child care, speech and language therapy, and physical therapy. There is also a pediatric psychiatrist on staff. The Clinic has a full service cancer care program, including medical and radiation oncology, chemo/infusion, and surgery. There are two medical oncologists and a radiation oncologist on staff.
Clinic patients travel from as far as Glasgow, over 270 miles away. The round trip is over 540 miles and not advisable to try in one day, especially during cold weather months when road conditions are routinely dangerous. Travel and lodging expenses can result in an unnecessary financial burden to patients and families.
Montana is ranked 44th in population in the United States and is the fourth largest state at 147,042 square miles. According to the United States Census Bureau in 2016, the median income of a family of four in Montana was $47,169, roughly ten percent below the median income of a family of four in the United States overall. Montana’s 1,043,000 residents are spread throughout a vast area, often requiring long distance travel and an overnight stay to access comprehensive, complex medical care. Approximately 225,000 individuals live in the 17 North Central Montana counties that Great Falls medical providers serve. About 20% of these residents live below the poverty level.
The Clinic is unique in yet another way. For over 15 years, it has had a thriving physician outreach program, whereby physicians voluntarily spend a significant number of hours working in outlying communities. However successful and generous this program is though, there is no way in which the Clinic can take its chemotherapy and radiation equipment or its operating rooms out to those communities. Patients needing those services must travel to Great Falls. Whether traveling long distance to access treatment for cancer, surgery, or any serious illness, it is financially taxing and sometimes impossible for patients and families coming from surrounding areas to cover the costs of a hotel, meals, and fuel. It is even more stressful to exhibit one’s financial vulnerability by asking for aid. In addition, it is emotionally and physically daunting for patients to attempt to make a return trip on the same day they arrive and receive treatment. The Clinic fostered the Legacy Foundation specifically to ensure all patients in North Central Montana can afford to get to Great Falls—and stay here as long as they need—for the treatment they require.