Rick Billman was honored as the Montana Hospital Association’s 2019 Health Care Trustee of the Year last week at the association’s annual convention in Billings. Billman was nominated for the award by Northern Rockies Medical Center (NRMC).
“It was an honor to be selected for this award,” said Billman. “We all need to do everything we can to support our hospital. You never know when you or a family member will really need it.”
The following is the nomination letter from NRMC, which led to Billman’s selection as this year’s winner.
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Rick Billman was elected to the Northern Rockies Medical Center Board in May of 2004. His journey as a Trustee of the Board started out with a bang and he learned at his first board meeting that NRMC had been turned down by the bank for a $250,000 loan; due to the Teamsters union not accepting the contract NRMC proposed. Mr. Billman sat down with Administration and received a crash course in healthcare finances.
He took action by hitting the streets and approaching business leaders in the community to co-sign a $250,000 loan, which was necessary to cover the hospital’s payroll.
Four years later in 2008, Mr. Billman once again rallied the support of community members to invest $500,000 in NRMC in order to get the facility off a factoring line of credit. Community members were paid every month on time for five years at 10% versus 20% interest. The facility has improved equity millions of dollars due to his “salesmanship” of NRMC during challenging times.
Mr. Billman is the owner of Billman’s True Value and has helped update the OB delivery Rooms, patient rooms, hallways and Emergency Room at a quarter of the cost. Patients enjoy the modern, calming environment. Also, sleeping rooms in the facility were remodeled, so that traveling RNs and locums would stay at the facility. This provided a savings for our hospital because it was far less expensive then hotel rooms.
The savings to NRMC has been at least $40,000 dollars per year since 2016. These on-site sleeping quarters also enabled our facility to fill vacant positions with people that need to be on call and live in surrounding communities.
Mr. Billman is a Building Committee champion on the Board. One of the companies Mr. Billman works with is Shaw flooring and was told that Shaw makes donations to 501(c) 3 organizations every year. He asked Shaw if it would be willing to donate carpet to remodel our conference room in order to improve the learning environment for our staff in order to provide quality healthcare through continual education.
During a recent downturn of business, True Value and the Billmans donated funds to purchase TV ads in order to inform the community about our services and improve profitability.
Mr. Billman has been a pillar for the NRMC Board, serving for 15 years. He started serving as the Vice-Chair from 2005 (one year after joining the Board) to 2010, and again from 2013 to 2016. He has been Board Chair since 2016. Without Mr. Billman’s leadership and support for Northern Rockies Medical Center, it would not exist today. He continues to serve by donating the funds for the Annual Staff Christmas dinner, where the Board serves the Prime Rib.
The sacrifices, both time and monetarily, Rick Billman has made for the betterment of healthcare in Glacier County through Northern Rockies Medical Center is why NRMC nominated him for the 2019 Trustee of the Year Award.