Innovation and partnerships to address the root causes of illness and using existing resources more effectively to improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs. 

We are dedicated to improving the health status of Montanans and to increasing the quality and accessibility of health services for people across the state. Health disparities – defined as the higher rates of illness experienced by certain populations, including socially or economically disadvantaged families, racial and ethnic minorities, children, and older adults – are a focus of this portfolio.

Many communities, particularly in rural Montana, have limited access to health services, and healthcare workforce shortages and budget shortfalls are widespread. In recent years, Montana has seen per capita health spending rise faster than 41 other states. As health care costs continue to rise, there is a need for innovations that improve health outcomes while also helping to contain costs.

Value-based approaches that seek to realign incentives to produce better outcomes have emerged as a priority in Montana. For example, in the HELP Act that expanded Montana’s Medicaid program, the state legislature mandated that the program reduce costs and improve medical outcomes. The Governor’s Council on Healthcare Innovation and Reform also focused on value-based approaches to health care delivery system and payment reform.

Funding Opportunities

We are currently accepting two types of grant proposals in Partnerships for Better Health: competitive grants submitted under the 2019 Call for Proposals and invited grants submitted under our Housing Is Health Care Initiative.

Housing Is Health Care Initiative

Implementation of Value-Based Care Initiative

Our Work in Partnerships for Better Health

Partnerships for Better Health Grantees

Alluvion Health

Implementation of an Innovative Alternative Payment Model for Direct Primary Care

Project Term: 12 months; 2019-2020
Grant Amount: $32,750

Alluvion Health will increase access to primary care, behavioral health, and dental care with a focus on preventive services, by collaborating with organizations who do not have the ability to offer health insurance benefits to their employees. This project will improve access to high quality health care with a simple, flat, affordable fee. Patients will have access to Alluvion Health providers with the ability to be referred to sliding fee specialty care. Funding will be used to support the program manager for project development and operation and legal fees to review and advise on employee contracts. Through this project, Alluvion Health will work to develop and foster strong partnerships with the local business community and will work with other organizations across the state who have implemented similar programs and can help provide technical assistance. The project’s goal is to design a program that creates access for patients currently in this unique health care gap, supports employers’ interests in caring for their employees’ health, and ensures a long-term viable solution for improving the overall health of the community.

University of Montana Foundation

Capacity Building for the University of Montana Public Health Training Institute

Project Term: 24 months; 2019-2021
Grant Amount: $96,683

The University of Montana (UM) will develop a Public Health Training Institute within the School of Public and Community Health Sciences. Training opportunities will be developed to build the capacity of public health practitioners and the broader health care system. Through a partnership with the Public Health Workforce Development Group, made up of members of the non-profit public health entities and the state health department, nine training topics have been identified as areas of need to build the capacity of Montana’s public health workforce. Through this project, the needs of the broader health care system, including primary care, behavioral health, and tribal and urban Indian health centers, will be identified and five additional trainings will be developed to meet those needs. Trainings will be delivered online for free or, for sustainability purposes, for a nominal fee. Grant funds will be used to cover the cost of program staff to carry out the data gathering and analysis, for consultation with subject matter experts as the training modules are developed, and to cover the costs of travel for meetings and marketing. Through this project, UM will strengthen the partnerships it has developed with the state health department, the non-profit public health entities, and local health departments. New partnerships will be developed with the boarder health care field, including the Montana Hospital Association and Montana Primary Care Association. The project’s goal is to build the capacity of the public health and broader health workforce while simultaneously building the capacity of the School of Public and Community Health Sciences to establish a Public Health Training Institute that will serve as a state-wide resource for health training.

University of Montana

Montana Interprofessional Student Hotspotting

Project Term: 24 months; 2019-2021
Grant Amount: $95,967

This project will pilot a cross-disciplinary student hotspotting program to work with Partnership Health Center’s Complex Care program. Student hotspotting, an initiative of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, is a team-based, patient-centered approach to serving patients with complex medical and social needs. Led by University of Montana College of Health Professionals and Biomedical Sciences (CHPBS) faculty, the program will create student teams that provide home-based non-clinical interventions to high-utilizing patients in Partnership Health Center’s Complex Care program. Funding will be used for the operational, administrative, and training costs to develop and implement the training program at the University of Montana. Partners include the Montana Geriatric Education Center, Partnership Health Center, the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers and University of Utah Interprofessional Education and Student Hotspotting, who will provide training and technical support for the program. The project’s goal is to improve patient quality of life, integrate medical, behavioral, and social care, and increase utilization of primary care services through home-based, non-clinical interventions that address the social determinants of health.

Smiles Across Montana

Expanding Smiles Across Montana Services

Project Term: 24 months; 2019-2021
Grant Amount: $100,000

Smiles Across Montana will expand the reach of their mobile dental clinic to serve rural and tribal communities across the state. The program will focus on providing dental hygiene services and oral hygiene education to children and Medicaid recipients. Funds will be used to support networking, planning, and implementing the mobile dental clinic’s services into new facilities and communities. As part of the project, Smiles Across Montana will prioritize developing strong partnerships which will help them increase access to preventative oral health services in rural Montana and make referrals to higher level of dental care as needed. The project’s goal is to bring equitable oral health to all Montanans and to work together with other programs to improve the overall health of Montana’s most vulnerable populations.

Montana State University Foundation

Developing an Assessment of Climate Change and Human Health for Montana

Project Term: 24 months; 2019-2020
Grant Amount: $94,500

This project will establish a collaboration of health and climate science experts to produce Montana’s first assessment of the impacts of climate change on human health. “Assessing Climate Change and Human Health in Montana” (C2H2 for short) will be released in 2020 as an online web resource and a printed document with associated outreach and educational materials and activities. C2H2 will present health-relevant climate information describing recent trends and future projections; explain how climate change affects aspects of human health; and offer practical recommendations to guide local, state, and tribal efforts to anticipate and adapt to climate-related health threats in Montana. The report will receive both public comment and scientific peer review before its release, and professional evaluation after release. The goal is to provide the best-available science and health-related data at a level that is easy to access and understand by communities, medical professionals, and policy makers in Montana. C2H2 will serve as a Special Report to the 2017 Montana Climate Assessment.

2019 Call for Proposals

Find out about this year’s available grants.