Strengthening health services so that the American Indian people have access to stable, well-run, high-quality, tribally-led health care.

The goal of this initiative is to strengthen American Indian health services so that American Indian people in Montana have access to stable, well-run, high-quality, tribally-led health care.

American Indian people in Montana often lack adequate access to quality preventive, primary, and specialty health care. Specific problems include fragmentation among the Indian Health Services (IHS), tribal, urban, and private health care systems; longstanding underfunding; complex state and federal funding and regulations with frequent changes in policy; under-funding of urban Indian health centers relative to other parts of the American Indian health care system; and missed opportunities to generate stable funding for improved health services through billing insurance. National experience shows that tribally-run health systems can achieve outstanding clinical care and better health outcomes, yet there are relatively few tribally-led health services in Montana.

Only tribes, tribal government agencies, and urban Indian health programs may apply for funding under this initiative to carry out projects that meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants must describe a plan for creating, strengthening, or assuming management from IHS (via public law 638) of a specific program or service that responds to a clearly identified health priority.
  • Applicants must identify a viable source(s) of revenue (such as billing insurance or using T-HIP funding) to support the program beyond the term of the grant.
  • Applicants must consider whether there may be any potential partnerships with outside organizations such as hospitals or health departments that could strengthen the project.
  • Applicants must demonstrate that they have the capacity to carry out the project.

If you are part of a tribe, tribal government agency, or urban Indian health program and are interested in applying for funding under this initiative, please contact MHCF Senior Program Officer Tressie White at Grant decisions will be based on our general selection criteria and the specific requirements for this initiative.

Reducing American Indian Health Disparities

Focus Area: American Indian Health

Our Work in Strengthening Health Services

Strengthening Health Services Grantees

Eagle Shield Center

Blackfeet Community Hospice Project

Project Term: 12 months; Dec 2017 – Nov 2018
Grant Amount: $26,262

This planning grant aims to achieve two primary objectives: (1) establish a partnership among tribal agencies on the Blackfeet reservation who will collaborate toward developing hospice services for the community; and (2) provide a one-day workshop to educate the Blackfeet community about hospice and end-of-life care. Since 2007, Blackfeet community members and a researcher from Montana State University have been collaborating on end-of-life experiences among Blackfeet people using a participatory approach. The partnership includes the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, the Eagle Shield Center, the Blackfeet Tribal Health Department, Tribal Planning, Blackfeet Community College, Blackfeet Family and Child Services, Indian Health Service, and the Tribal Diabetes Clinic. At the conclusion of this project, a solid partnership will be established in the community and the workshop on available hospice services in the Blackfeet community will increase the community’s knowledge of end-of-life care needs and services.

North American Indian Alliance

Strategic Planning Initiative

Project Term: 12 months; Aug 2017 – Jul 2018
Grant Amount: $50,000

For this project, North American Indian Alliance (NAIA) will complete a needs assessment and strategic plan. This initiative will take place in two stages: first, a consultant will work with organizational leadership to create an interim plan to stabilize the organization by fall 2017; and second, NAIA will work with partner organizations including the county health department, hospital, and behavioral health providers to conduct an in-depth needs assessment and develop a more comprehensive strategic plan. The strategic plan will reveal current and potential service provision gaps and formulate a plan that addresses programming, operations, and financing. The goal is to stabilize the organization internally and build on the strengths of their current work while looking for ways to extend their services to the community.

Salish Kootenai College

Type 2 Diabetes Intervention for At-Risk Youth

Project Term: 24 months; Aug 2017 – Jul 2019
Grant Amount: $75,000

This project will develop a screening and exercise-based intervention project for teens who are at-risk for type 2 diabetes on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Salish Kootenai College (SKC) nursing students will work with the CSKT Tribal Health Department to identify at-risk teens based on family history and other risk factors. Quarterly, for two years, identified teens will be screened for diabetes as part of a “field day” that will provide intensive education on diet and exercise. Field day activities will include completing physical parameters, education on nutrition and the need for regular checkups, physical activity sessions with a fitness trainer, and screening for hypertension and diabetes. Students who screen positive for diabetes will be referred immediately to CSKT primary care or their private primary care provider.

North American Indian Alliance

Electronic Health Record and Revenue Cycle Optimization Project

Project Term: 12 months; Ended 2017
Grant Amount: $15,000

This project will optimize the North American Indian Alliance’s electronic health records and improve third-party revenue within the organization. Partners include the Helena Indian Alliance who will provide technical support in developing office procedures that ensure accountability, producing efficient managers capable of teaching staff, and building the correct measures to report progress.

Northern Cheyenne Tribal Board of Health

Revenue Enhancement Project

Project Term: 18 months; Apr 2017 – Oct 2018
Grant Amount: $75,000

This project will help increase revenue by billing third-party insurance and will strengthen tribal health services by improving the tribe’s revenue management system. Funding will be used to hire a new staff position to focus on insurance enrollment, and a consultant to help with revenue cycle management. Expected outcomes include educating the revenue enhancement staff in third-party insurance billing, increasing revenue by approximately 25 percent, and hiring a permanent patient registration staff.

2018 Call for Proposals

Find out about this year’s available grants.