In the past year, Montana VA Health Care System (MTVAHCS) has embraced planned and unplanned changes. From the ground breaking of a new clinic, to opening new state-of-the-art clinics, to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, MTVAHCS has responded with adaptability and innovation. The organization was recently recognized by Forbes in naming the VA as one of Montana’s top ten best employers.
Between 2009 to March 2019, four different Executive Directors led MTVAHCS. In June 2019, Dr. Judy Hayman became the MTVAHCS’s Executive Director and established a core leadership team committed to identifying and cultivating leaders at each level of the organization. Focusing on the provision of safe, high qualityVeteran centric care, transparency in communications, ensuring high reliability, and identifying continuous process improvement opportunities defines the culture under Dr. Hayman’s leadership.
“We have 1,400 staff who serve over 47,000 Veterans at 17 sites across Montana. When the pandemic began this spring, our staff immediately began planning and taking charge to respond. As guidance changed, our staff took the lead to ensure that Veterans were receiving the safest care possible. It is through constant communication and employee engagement that we have been able to overcome many of the challenges related to COVID-19” said Dr. Hayman. In May, MTVAHCS was selected as the lead site within its VA region to increase face-to-face visits for Veterans in the first phase of expanded care during the pandemic. “We have been able to continue serving Veterans during COVID-19 and were selected to lead our region in expanding face-to-face care because of the hard work and dedication of our staff.”
In June, a new partnership was announced between MTVAHCS and Billings Clinic and St. Vincent Healthcare to serve rural Veterans and create integrated care between the VA and private healthcare systems. At the beginning of July, MTVAHCS broke ground on a new Veteran clinic in Missoula. At the end of July, MTVAHCS welcomed Veterans into their new state-of-the-art outpatient clinic in Great Falls. MTVAHCS has eight new clinics scheduled to open, across the state, by the end of next year.
MTVAHCS’s overall trust scores—which derive from Veteran rankings of their health care experiences—are at a historic high. MTVAHCS provides healthcare to Veterans across Montana through a series of community-based clinics, the Miles City Community Living Center (Montana VA’s only nursing home), an acute care medical center, a nationally acclaimed sleep center, and robust telehealth services. One third of Montana VA employees are Veterans.