Billings Clinic secures federal COVID resources with help from State of Montana
Billings, MT – Thanks to help from state and local health and disaster officials, Billings Clinic has secured federal resources to help in the critical work of caring for COVID-19 patients during the ongoing pandemic.
These resources include 15 new GE Healthcare CARESCAPE R860 ventilators, which can be used to treat critical COVID-19 patients, and others, who need this lifesaving equipment to help them breathe. Billings Clinic is receiving the ventilators thanks to the efforts of Yellowstone County Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator KC Williams and the State of Montana, including the Department of Public Health and Human Resources (DPHHS). They helped to coordinate and connect Billings Clinic with the U.S. Department of Health and Human (HHS), which provided the ventilators.
Additionally, Billings Clinic has received a $150,000 grant through the Montana Coronavirus Relief Grants Program, which provides federal CARES Act funding to businesses and organizations throughout the state. Billings Clinic will use these funds to help build a permanent Viral Triage Unit (VTU), which provides COVID-19 and respiratory illness testing. The permanent VTU will allow for continued testing in a convenient location next to Billings Clinic’s SameDay Care on the downtown Billings campus. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020.
Finally, thanks again to coordinating efforts from the State of Montana and DPHHS, a seven-person care team from the federal HHS started at Billings Clinic on Monday, Nov. 2. These staff, including four nurses, a physician and support staff, help to bolster Billings Clinic’s care team members in the midst of the ongoing surge of new COVID-19 cases across Montana and Wyoming. They are one of five such teams deployed this week to hospitals across Montana.
“We are incredibly grateful for these critical resources, funds and staff,” said Billings Clinic CEO Dr. Scott Ellner. “As we see more and more new cases of COVID-19, we also unfortunately see more patients needing critical care. Thanks to the work of our partners locally and at the state level, we are fortunate to bring in these vital resources to help our staff and care for our patients.”
“Our staff are working tirelessly with compassion and determination to provide care for all who need it,” Ellner said. “This pandemic puts a strain on all of us, and partnerships like these are so important in our efforts to take care of people and slow the spread of illness. We also need citizens, officials and communities from every corner of our region to partner with us and do your part to make sure this virus doesn’t continue to spread and to protect your friends and neighbors. We ask everybody to join us in following public health guidance, wearing your masks, practicing physical distancing and staying home if you are sick.”